Collected Poetry

 

 

Collected Poetry

VOLUME ELEVEN  

 

Original materials - Copyright © 2015 by Gary Bachlund    All international rights reserved

 

 "How lucky is the man who, like Mozart and others, goes to the tavern of an evening and writes some fresh music. For he lives while he is creating." Johannes Brahms (in a letter to Clara Schumann, 1856)

 

Small grandeur

There's wonder in the fallen leaf
In times which, passing, prove so brief;
    There's grandeur in the slight and small
    As in the cosmic God-great sprawl
Of worlds beyond a small world's view,
Eluding, hinting, hiding hue
    From sight so short and time too quick
    To color blind time's waning wick.
Shorter now this flickering flame
Is pressing out its withering claim
    On day which births itself to night,
    In candled dusk, dark, justly right.
There's wonder in the wondering
Of each fall leaf's small thundering.


 

Shall we ignore the obvious

Shall we ignore the obvious,
Which stands before our eyes?
Must we believe what is not true,
That best is said in lies?
Shall we stay well misinformed
By those in teachers' guise?
Do we not know from Adam
That ignorance crucifies?

 

Envoi:  "Conservatism is not estimable in itself, nor is Change, or Radicalism. To conserve the existing good, to supplant the existing bad by good, is to act on a true political principle, which is neither Conservative nor Radical."   In the Preface to "Late Lyrics," Thomas Hardy, 1922.

 

Addendum of Natural Violence:   "Like the Jews who remained in their Eastern ghettoes even after the Nazis arrived, we seem concerned only that business should go well in our big shtetl, and never mind what goes on in the rest of the world. As we Jews succeed in freeing ourselves of whatever remnants of ghetto thinking we still harbor, it may fall to us to teach the Western world that it must, as we all must, enlarge the feeling of community beyond our own group, beyond iron curtains -- not because all men are basically good, but because violence is as natural to man as the tendency toward order."  In "Freud's Vienna and Other Essays," Bruno Bettelheim, Vintage Books edition, 1991.    [ 1 ]

 

 Addendum of Man's Innate Cruelty: "Society is not the criminal but the force which keeps crime in check. When social controls weaken, man's innate cruelty bursts forth." In "Sexual Personae, Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson," Camille Paglia, Yale University Press, 1990.

 

Addendum of Teaching Violence to Children:   "The school is run by fighters who pledged allegiance to ISIS — the terrorist group that declared an Islamic caliphate in Iraq and Syria. They live among the locals in the village of Shaigal, take local wives and collect taxes. They seem to control every aspect of life. The teacher, Abdullah Gul, tells the students what 'jihad' means: 'We must implement God’s religion over all people,' Gul tells the children in the below video. 'God says do jihad until intrigue, idolatry and infidelity are finished in the world'." In "ISIS in Afghanistan: School of Jihad," by Priyan Boghani, Frontline, PBS, 1 November 2015.

 

Addendum of the Obama Administration Fueling ISIS:   "A revealing light on how we got here has now been shone by a recently declassified secret US intelligence report, written in August 2012, which uncannily predicts – and effectively welcomes – the prospect of a 'Salafist principality' in eastern Syria and an al-Qaida-controlled Islamic state in Syria and Iraq. In stark contrast to western claims at the time, the Defense Intelligence Agency document identifies al-Qaida in Iraq (which became Isis) and fellow Salafists as the 'major forces driving the insurgency in Syria' – and states that “western countries, the Gulf states and Turkey” were supporting the opposition’s efforts to take control of eastern Syria. Raising the 'possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality', the Pentagon report goes on, 'this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran)'." Which is pretty well exactly what happened two years later." In "Now the truth emerges: how the US fuelled the rise of Isis in Syria and Iraq," by Seumas Milne, Guardian UK, 3 June 2015.    [ 2 ]  

 

Addendum of the Obama Administration Approving Arms for Saudi Arabia:   "The Islamist theocracy Saudi Arabia is getting heavy ammunition equaling billions of dollars from the United States. It remains to be seen whether this economic booster shot for the U.S. defense industry will lead to consequences in Syria. The Saudis are fighting covertly against the Russians. The U.S. government has approved a multibillion dollar arms deal with Saudi Arabia. In order to strengthen its air force, the Islamist monarchy wants to purchase more than 19,000 bombs, which would total up to 1.29 billion dollars (1.19 billion euros). This was confirmed by the State Department in Washington on Monday." In "USA Delivers 19,000 Bombs to Wahabist Saudis Supporting ISIS," Originally appeared at German Economic News. Translated by Susan Neumann, 19 November 2015.    [ 3 ]

 

Addendum of the Naïveté  of Europe:   "...the fact that terrorists appear to have entered Europe concealed among asylum seekers still vindicated repeated warnings by Mr. Orban that the uncontrolled flow of so many people posed serious security risks. 'Whenever Hungary made an argument the response was always: ‘They are stupid Hungarians. They are xenophobes and Nazis,’ ' Zoltan Kovacs, a government spokesman, said. 'Suddenly, it turns out that what we said was true. The naïveté of Europe is really quite stunning'." In "Hungary’s Migrant Stance, Once Denounced, Gains Some Acceptance," by Andrew Higgins, New York Times, 20 December 2015.

 

Addendum of Reality's Check:   "...we are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right. Intellectually, it is possible to carry on this process for an indefinite time: the only check on it is that sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield."  In " In Front of Your Nose," George Orwell, Tribune, 22 March 1946.

  

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]     The notion that "violence is a natural to man as the tendency toward order" disturbs some, because of a refusal to accept realities, favoring wishful thinking or even choosing not knowing over facing reality.

          A famous example is this:  "It is indeed a mystery why the individual members of nations should disdain, hate, and abhor each other at all, even in times of peace. I do not know why it is. It seems as if all the moral achievements of the individual were obliterated in the case of a large number of people, not to mention millions, until only the most primitive, oldest, and most brutal psychic inhibitions remained." In "The Disappointments of War," Reflections on War and Death, Sigmund Freud, 1918.

          For such a seemingly seminal thinker in the late 19th and early 20th century to admit "I do not know why it is," and then continue his prose aimed more towards wishful thinking than observable fact is a sign of these "modern times." Shall we ignore the obvious? Many testify "yes."

          Such have forgotten Kellogg-Briand - 1928 as they have forgotten that "the war to end all wars" is long past, and what has followed have been war after war, even those which some have thought were ending.

 

[ 2 ]    The New York Times published an editorial detailing US-Wahabbi involvement. One reads in part:  "Saudi Arabia remains an ally of the West in the many chess games playing out in the Middle East. It is preferred to Iran, that gray Daesh. And there’s the trap. Denial creates the illusion of equilibrium. Jihadism is denounced as the scourge of the century but no consideration is given to what created it or supports it. This may allow saving face, but not saving lives. Daesh has a mother: the invasion of Iraq. But it also has a father: Saudi Arabia and its religious-industrial complex. Until that point is understood, battles may be won, but the war will be lost. Jihadists will be killed, only to be reborn again in future generations and raised on the same books." In "Saudi Arabia, an ISIS That Has Made It," by Kamel Daoud, New York Times, 20 November 2015.

          Comparing this NYTimes-published view with the Guardian excerpt above, one sees the assertion that the Obama administration had a tacitly approving hand in the tragedy in Iraq involving ISIS/Daesh.

          Given these kinds of reports from 2015 and with the raging war inside Iraq and Libya with the Islamic State, it becomes instructive to look back a few years at the political rhetoric.

          Ones reads of what is now proven to have been naïveté at best: " 'I would note that the end of war in Iraq reflects a larger transition,' Obama said. 'The tide of war is receding'." In "Obama announces full withdrawal from Iraq," by David Jackson, USA Today, 21 October 2011.

          That article went on to gush in an editorial statement camouflaged as news:  "The announcement came a day after the death of former Libya dictator Moammar Gadhafi, bringing that conflict to an end."

          Viewed from only a few years later, the "tide of war" did not recede, but escalate. The "conflict" in Libya was not brought "to an end. Look beyond to Obama's admission of Failing to plan -- flailing's in view.
          Further:  "...he listed the administration's achievements, including the pullout of troops in Iraq and the drawdown of soldiers in Afghanistan. 'Winding down these longs wars has enabled us to replace and rebalance our foreign policy,' the vice-president told army cadets and their families." In "Joe Biden: withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan allows military to refocus," by Matt Williams, Guardian UK, 26 May 2012.  How then do the air strikes and drone attacks in the few years following these politicians' statement  indicate "winding down?" But politicians declare their successes all too easily.

 

 Self-Congratulation Tested Against Solid Reality

 

          One reads:  "Mr. Obama has pointed to the American troop withdrawal last year as proof that he has fulfilled his promise to end the Iraq war. Winding down a conflict, however, entails far more than extracting troops. ...White House officials portray their exit strategy as a success, asserting that the number of civilian fatalities in Iraq is low compared with 2006, when the war was at its height. Politics, not violence, has become the principal means for Iraqis to resolve their differences, they say." In "In U.S. Exit From Iraq, Failed Efforts and Challenges," by Michael R. Gordon, New York Times, 22 September 2012.

          One should highlights the assertion:  "Politics, not violence, has become the principal means for Iraqis to resolve their differences." This is demonstrably false. Shall we ignore the obvious? A war rages in Iraq and Libya, between the Islamic State and its opponents, the current Iraq government allied with Kurds and others. And where is the US in this? Flying military missions over Iraq for the last four years. This is what politics calls "winding down."

          George Orwell in his article cited above, "In Front of Your Nose," ends with this salient observation:  "Politics, on the other hand, is a sort of sub-atomic or non-Euclidean word where it is quite easy for the part to be greater than the whole or for two objects to be in the same place simultaneously. Hence the contradictions and absurdities I have chronicled above, all finally traceable to a secret belief that one's political opinions, unlike the weekly budget, will not have to be tested against solid reality."

          The "tide of war" roils. The "winding down" was and remains a political assertion. Politics is not become the principal means to resolve differences in a world of wars.

 

[ 3 ]  The original article in German: "Die islamistische Theokratie Saudi-Arabien erhält von den USA schwere Munition im Gegenwert von Milliarden. Ob die Konjunktur-Spritze für die US-Rüstungsindustrie ihre Folgen auch in Syrien zeigen wird, ist offen. Die Saudis kämpfen verdeckt gegen die Russen. Die US-Regierung hat ein milliardenschweres Rüstungsgeschäft mit Saudi-Arabien gebilligt. Die islamistische Monarchie wird für ihre Luftwaffe mehr als 19.000 Bomben im Wert von 1,29 Milliarden Dollar (1,19 Milliarden Euro) kaufen, teilte das Außenministerium in Washington am Montag mit." In "USA liefern 19.000 Bomben an Saudi-Arabien," Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten, 16 November 2015.

          Adding the assertion that Saudi Arabia is "an ISIS that has made it" to the Obama administration approving such a large assortment of armament to that "ISIS that has made it," one sees on which side the US government currently stands. It stands on the side of an "the Islamist theocracy."

 

 The Simple, Stinging Question

 

          An Islamist theocracy? Another criticizes:  " 'How many bombs and missiles have you purchased from the U.S. in the past year,' Rouhani asked in an apparent reference to Saudi Arabia. 'If you had distributed the same money among poor Muslims, none of them would have gone to bed hungry.' Rouhani, a moderate politician, said a Saudi-led coalition that has been bombing Yemen since March has prompted a humanitarian crisis and greater poverty in Yemen, saying these were among the main causes behind the spread of extremism in the region." In "Iran accuses Saudi of promoting poverty, terrorism," by Ali Akbar Dareini, Associated Press, 27 December 2015.

          Nevertheless, business is business, as the Obama administration approves "1.29 billion dollars" of weapons and munitions to Saudi Arabia in 2015 alone.

          As to that so-called Islamist theocracy, one reads:  "Already this year Saudi Arabia has carried out at least 151 beheadings but these would be the first that deal with allegations of terrorism. Last year a total of 90 were executed but none were for terrorism offences. It is believed that seven of the condemned men are Shia from the region of Al-Awamiyah in the oil-rich Eastern Province. Saudi Shia have long protested over discrimination and mistreatment by the Sunni central government." In "Saudi Arabia executions: Kingdom to behead 50 men convicted of terrorism offences despite threat of Shia revolt," by Bill Law, Independent UK, 26 November 2015.

          As one recalls the loud complaint in the Western media and politics of the Abu Graib "scandal," one looks for a comparable response from these same voices to the carnage of ISIS as to the carnage of the "ISIS that made it" -- Saudi Arabia. Similarly one looks for outrage in the Western media and politics for cross border drone attacks by the current US administration which, when done by a previous administration, had "pressed" howls of complaint. Single standards consistently applied seem absent.

          On might well muse on the odd American liberal who would believe in an antiwar stance, all the while the obvious fact is that this Peace Prize president is arming of the Wahabbi "Islamic theocracy" as well as carrying one drone attacks across borders in non-war zones as recognized by US law. See: A Modern Observation on The Anti-War Movement  - "Where have all the critics gone, long time passing?"         

          But the narrative is spreading. One reads:   "...more than 11,000 people tweeted the hashtag 'Sue me Saudi' in protest, challenging the authorities to take legal action against them for making similar comparisons. 'Beheading poets because they criticise a regime puts that regime on the same level as Daesh [IS]', one tweet read. Another directly addressed the Saudi authorities: 'Your regime is barbaric. Beheading is never justified. The idea of your chairing the UN Human Rights Council is a sick joke.' The last comment is a reference to the appointment of a Saudi ambassador as chair of a panel of experts on the council."   In "What happened after one man compared Saudi Arabia to Islamic State," BBC, 1 December 2015.


 

Down the runway with a strut

Down the runway with a strut,
                    slinking into view,
Is the agéd model,
                    styled eighteen-fifties new!
Fashionable is the old thing now,
                    though stumblingly sashayed,
Dressed up still so scantily
                    for a stylishly grayed parade.
Elderly, doddering, creaking joints,
                    yet full feather boa bold,
Down the runway one more time
                    and but eighteen-fifties old.
Trot out the flagged apparel,
                    powdered, lipsticked, wigged,
As slinks the deadly, dowdy strut
                    which stinks from perfumes, swigged
From all those wrinkled, faded fans,
                     the old new rebroadcast.
All hail this agéd derelict,
                    its first century long passed.
Fashionably back in favor,
                    its dark flavor unsurpassed.
View the farce as it comes to town,
                    desiccated and outclassed.
Who will buy this dried bouquet,
                    as the sere is again recast?
A high gate hides the rotting corpse
                    consigned to a dusty past.
Exhume and prop and pretty up,
                    that down the runway yet
The stinking agéd model seems
                    seductive as some fresh coquet.

 

Envoi:    "The hard-left finance spokesman for Britain's opposition Labour Party said on Monday that Karl Marx, co- author of 'The Communist Manifesto', is back in fashion because his ideas offer a definitive way to analyse the capitalist foundations of the modern Western economy. After winning Labour's top job by a landslide earlier this month, Jeremy Corbyn appointed John McDonnell - a former trade unionist who backs renationalising banks and imposing wealth taxes - as his finance minister-in-waiting. 'If you look at most of the institutions that are teaching economics today, Marx has come back in to fashion because people have gone back to his analysis of just the basics of how the system works,' McDonnell told BBC radio." In "Karl Marx is 'back in fashion', key ally of Britain's Labour leader says," by Guy Faulconbridge and Michael Holden, Reuters, 28 September 2015.

 

Addendum of London's ex-Mayor:   "To conclude that Hitler supported Zionism 'is not only historically inaccurate, it is historically illiterate,' Moorhouse wrote. Senior UK Labour Party lawmakers have called on party leader Jeremy Corbyn to take firmer action against anti-Semitism among its members, in light of the anti-Semitic remarks by Livingstone, Naz Shah, an MP who was suspended on Wednesday, and others." In "Livingstone doubles down on Hitler backing Zionism: ‘They don’t teach it in Israel’ - Anti-Israel politician George Galloway backs former mayor, says ‘Nazism and Zionism were two sides of the same coin’; WWII historian rejects claims outright," by Staff, Times of Israel, 29 April 2016.

 

 Addendum of the British Labour Party's Anti-Semitism:   "... Aziz is a strong supporter of the extremist Palestine Solidarity Campaign, which has a long history of hosting anti-Semites and homophobes at its events, as well as the anti-Israel BDS boycott movement. Aziz is just one of dozens of Labour members who were suspended over the past year or so due to anti-Semitic statements. The most senior was former London Mayor Ken Livingstone, whose membership was suspended after he suggested and later insisted that Adolf Hitler was a Zionist. Livingstone has refused to apologize for his comments and has repeatedly stressed that he stands by them. Corbyn himself has come under fire due to his calling Hamas and Hezbollah his 'friends' and for outright refusing to condemn those two terrorist organizations despite being urged to do so by local Jewish groups. He recently took back those comments. It remains unclear why the Labour party reinstated Aziz." In "Anti-Semitic British Labour councillor reinstated," by Elad Benari, Arutz Sheva, 5 January 2017.

 

Addendum of Looking Worn Out:   " 'The left's political discourse is looking worn-out,' said Elsa Cardozo, a specialist in international affairs at Simon Bolivar University in Venezuela. 'The transformations they brought about have led backwards in the end'." In "Political upsets mark dark days for Latin left," Alexander Martinez, Agence France Presse, 8 December 2015.

 

Addendum of a Easy Idea for 2015:   "Let’s get rid of private housing." In " How to Get Rid of Your Landlord and Socialize American Housing, in 3 Easy Steps," by Jesse A. Myerson, The Nation, 8 December 2015.

 

Addendum of the Fashionable Marx, circa 1814:   "Nevertheless, in most advanced countries, the following will be pretty generally applicable. 1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes. 2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax. 3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance. 4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels...." In "Chapter II. Proletarians and Communists," of The Manifesto of the Communist Party, 1848.

 

Addendum of Venezuela's Socialism:   "... it did what all poorly-run states do when the money runs out: it printed some more. And by 'some,' I mean a lot, a lot more. That, in turn, became more "a lots" than you can count once oil started collapsing in mid-2014. The result of all this money-printing, as you can see below, is that Venezuela's currency has, by black market rates, lost 93 percent of its value in the last two years. It turns out Lenin was wrong. Debauching the currency is actually the best way to destroy the socialist, not the capitalist, system." In "Venezuela is on the brink of a complete economic collapse," by Matt O'Brien, Washington Post, 29 January 2016.    [ 1 ]

 

Addendum of Bitter Resentment:   "...anti-Americanism lives on. The continued hatred of America and Americanism one finds on the left has, I think, two elements. One is bitter resentment that Americanism did defeat communism and the once confident hopes of the radical left of a future socialist utopia. This is anti-American as leftist revenge and sour grapes. But, additionally, leftist utopianism lives on various forms such as radical environmentalism, radical feminism, and radical multiculturalism. These radical movements also fear that American culture and civilization as well as “Americanized” attitudes in the rest of the world are the major road blocs to their utopian goals." In "Dissecting Anti-Americanism: The Contribution of Paul Hollander," by John Earl Haynes, Philadelphia Society, 14 April 2012.     [ 2 ]

 

Addendum of He Is and He Isn't:   "Questioned on the BBC's Andrew Marr show, he said: 'Marx obviously analysed what was happening in a quite brilliant way. The philosophy around Marx is absolutely fascinating. 'Does it all apply now? Well obviously philosophy applies at all times. Do we then take  that as a way in which we ensure that people have reasonable security in their lives through public ownership of the major monopolies? I think that is a fair point to look at. It is not unpopular with the public.' Pressed directly on whether he was a 'Marxist', Mr Corbyn said: 'That is a  very interesting question actually. I haven't thought about that for a long time. I haven't really read as much of Marx as we should have done. I have read quite a bit but not that much'." In "So is he a Marxist? Jeremy Corbyn dodges the question but says 'I haven't really read as much of Marx as we should have done'," by Corey Charlton, Mail Online, 26 July 2015.   [ 3 ]

 
 Addendum of the British Left's 'Jewish Problem':   "Anti-Semitism used to be a problem primarily of the right. It wasn’t that the left had a totally clean bill of health — there is a history of left-wing anti-Semitism — but its firm foundation of universal values and egalitarian principles established a proud tradition of fighting bigotry against Jews. In recent decades, however, much of the left has retreated from these commitments. Where before radicals challenging inequality and oppression did so in the name of universal rights, many now stress multiculturalism, celebrating a world divided into distinct cultures, each with its own ideas, beliefs and values. Such 'identity politics' turns on its head the dictum of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that one should judge people 'not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.' Once identity becomes the primary feature of political life, then people are judged as much by the group to which they belong as by their character or principles. Identity politics has made it easier to hold all Jews responsible for the actions of the State of Israel and to go after Jews simply for being Jews." In "The British Left’s ‘Jewish Problem’," by Kenen Malik, New York Times, 3 May 2016.

 

 Addendum of a Meltdown:   "The British Labour Party is in meltdown. After reviving the center-left in the 1990s, and then dominating British politics until 2010, Labour now faces the gravest challenge in its 116-year history. One of the oldest social-democratic parties in the world is fighting to survive; there is no guarantee it will. Labour’s crisis is a microcosm of the test that confronts social democracy at large. In polling, Labour has fallen to its lowest level in generations. Shortly before Christmas, the party’s support dropped to 24 percent, which if repeated in a national election would mark its lowest share of the vote since 1918. Forecasts suggest that the number of Labour seats in Parliament could slip from the 232 the party won in 2015 to 190 in 2020, its poorest showing since 1935. The bad news does not end there. In a recent election to fill a vacant parliamentary seat, Labour suffered the humiliation of failing to reach even 5 percent of the vote." In "Old Labour, New Labour, No Labour," by Matthew J. Goodwin, New York Times, 11 January 2017.

 

 Addendum of Corbyn's Abandonment:   "The survey, which asked 1,036 people how they voted in May 2015 and which party they intend to support in seven weeks’ time, found that almost half of those who voted Labour two years ago (46 per cent) would now vote for another party or not at all. Fourteen per cent of these intend to vote Conservative, while 10 per cent opted for the Lib Dems. More than a third (36 per cent) said they were abandoning Labour because of party leadership, while just under a quarter (24 per cent) cited Brexit and leadership and 16 per cent said it was Brexit alone." In "One in seven Labour voters turning to Tories as Corbyn scares off supporters," by Caroline Wheeler and Camilla Tominey, Express UK, 23 April 2017.

 

Addendum of a Poet's Aged Paean for a Failed Country:   Then on up the epochal way, / You soldiers of art without fear, / Till the world-soul heeds / And the revolution is here - / TilI the world-soul dares on the worldwide Day / And the revolution succeeds! / Through Marx, the glorious vision, / Through Lenin, the captain of deeds."   In "Red Renaissance," by H. H. Lewis, B. C. Hagglund, Publisher, Holt, Minnesota. 1930.  [ 4 ]

 

Addendum from Orwell's 1941:    "The mentality of the English left-wing intelligentsia can be studied in half a dozen weekly and monthly papers. The immediately striking thing about all these papers is their generally negative, querulous attitude, their complete lack at all times of any constructive suggestion. There is little in them except the irresponsible carping of people who have never been and never expect to be in a position of power. Another marked characteristic is the emotional shallowness of people who live in a world of ideas and have little contact with physical reality. Many intellectuals of the Left were flabbily pacifist up to 1935, shrieked for war against Germany in the years 1935-9, and then promptly cooled off when the war started. It is broadly though not precisely true that the people who were most 'anti-Fascist' during the Spanish Civil War are most defeatist now." In "The Lion and the Unicorn: Socialism And The English Genius," George Orwell, 1941.    [ 5 ]

 

Addendum from Communist China in 2016:   " A handwritten letter by Karl Marx accompanied by a vintage photograph of the author of "Das Capital" sold Tuesday for $678,000 at an auction in China, the China Daily newspaper reported." "Karl Marx's Letter Fetches $678,000 at China Auction," Indo-Asian News Service, 17 December 2014.

 

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]     The citation has been challenged as to authorship. One reads:   "One frequently quoted passage from the work of John Maynard Keynes is that 'the best way to destroy the capitalist system [is] to debauch the currency.' The passage, attributed to Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, appears in Keynes' book The Economic Consequences of the Peace, which became an international bestseller when it was published in 1919. Nearly 60 years later, the economist and economic historian Frank W. Fetter (1977, pp. 77, 78) observed that 'the story [about Lenin’s remarks} has circulated among economists, journalists, businessmen, politicians and bankers' since then. Fetter doubted, however, that Keynes was really quoting Lenin. After extensive inquiries, Fetter reported that no such statement could be found in Lenin’s published writings and that the 'first attribution in English, and probably in any language,' was by Keynes." In "Retrospectives: Who Said 'Debauch the Currency': Keynes or Lenin by Michael V. White and Kurt Schuler, Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 23, no. 2, 2009.

         The article notes:  "It seems clear that Keynes’ statement, in The Economic Consequences of the Peace, that Lenin was 'said to have declared that the best way to destroy the capitalist system was to debauch the currency,' was based on a report of an interview with Lenin that was published by prominent London and New York newspapers. There are grounds for questioning the veracity of the interview."

         While original authorship can be debated by scholars, what cannot be debated is that the socialist revolution of Chavez and Maduro in Venezuela is "on the brink." Thus whether the statement about debauching the currency is by one author or the other, the editorial spins the quote on its head, for it is indeed socialism in its many forms which is being destroyed by its own monetary policy.

 

 Demonstrably Proven

 

         This was demonstrably proven, as one finds in Wikipedia's article on "Hyperinflation in Zimbabwe." One reads: "Lack of confidence in government to practice fiscal restraint feeds on itself. In Zimbabwe, neither the issuance of banknotes of higher denominations nor proclamation of new currency regimes led holders of the currency to expect that the new money would be more stable than the old. Remedies announced by the government never included a believable basis for monetary stability."

         Rule in Zimbabwe since 1980 has been under the ZANU–PF, socialist in ideology and modeled after other nations' Leninist parties. By such examples and many not cited herein, the notion that socialist economic theory is "back in fashion" seems oddly disconnected from reality.

         The reality of Venezuela's socialist-led economy has been noted: "Venezuela is getting crushed by low oil prices. Its economy greatly depends on oil exports to drive growth. As oil prices have plunged in the past two years, so has Venezuela's economy, which is now in a severe recession. It's arguably the worst economy in the world." In "Oil-rich Venezuela is now importing U.S. oil," by Patrick Gillespie, CNN Money, 3 February 2016.

         Paper money devalued. Other paper highly valued but scarce. One reads:  "After socialists run out of other people's money, the people eventually run out of something almost as precious as money: Toilet paper. It's happening right now in Venezuela, once a socialist, oil-rich paradise and land of great shortstops. But Venezuela is fast becoming a thoroughly failed state." In "Venezuelan toilet paper shortage an unwelcome symptom of socialism," John Kass, Chicago Tribune, 25 February 2016.

         One also reads:  "Over the last 15 years, and with the arrival of the '21st-Century Socialism,' more than 1.5 million Venezuelans have decided to emigrate. Until 2014, most of them did so by air, passport in hand, while others decided to cross the border by land. But in 2015, this pattern seemed to have changed. Three Venezuelan women risked their lives on a raft and arrived at Trinidad and Tobago 'looking for a prosperous future.' We can now say that Venezuelan rafters exist and, along with Cubans, are fleeing a socialism that forces them to live in precarious conditions." In "Venezuelan Rafters Head to the Seas to Escape Chavismo," by Sabrina Martín, PanAmPost, 5 April 2016.

         As the collapse in Venezuela with its 21st-Century Socialism accelerates, one reads:  "Ramón Muchacho, Mayor of Chacao in Caracas, said the streets of the capital of Venezuela are filled with people killing animals for food. Through Twitter, Muchacho reported that in Venezuela, it is a 'painful reality' that people 'hunt cats, dogs and pigeons' to ease their hunger." In "Hungry Venezuelans Hunt Dogs, Cats, Pigeons as Food Runs Out," Sabrina Martín, PamAmPost, 4 May 2016.

 

 Marx and the Failures of Socialist Economic Theory

 

         Marx and lunacy are equated as Venezuela's collapse accelerates:  "To economists of pretty much every persuasion, from the far right to the far left, the solution to the crisis is pretty straightforward: stabilize the currency, eliminate those wildly destructive price controls, and make sure spending is at least in the same ballpark as tax revenues. But steeped in the kind of Marxist phraseology that was already out of date a generation ago, the clique around President Maduro seems genuinely convinced that all of the country’s problems are the result of a sprawling CIA conspiracy — 'economic warfare,' as official propaganda puts it. It’s insane, but within the tightly sealed circle of Marxist true believers around the president, this kind of lunacy never faces any serious pushback." In "How Venezuela’s socialist dream collapsed into a nightmare," by Francisco Toro, Vox, 26 May 2016.

         What an interesting echo of other times, when one considers how East Germans Fled from empty market shelves - a history lesson.

         For this and other examples of the failures of socialist economic theory, one returns to McDonnell above testifying to the BBC:  'If you look at most of the institutions that are teaching economics today, Marx has come back in to fashion because people have gone back to his analysis of just the basics of how the system works."

         Venezuela's Maduro and Chavez before him, are one example. Zimbabwe is another, and the Stalinist government of North Korea yet another. The 57-year reign of the Castro brothers in Cuba is as well, as McDonnell and the BBC need to consider Socialism's Last Hurrah   - not democracy in any town.

 

 Watching Collapse - Again

 

         Venezuela's supposedly "new" socialism is proving disastrous for again trying out some of the tenets of Marxism, which is simple Communism as Marx himself wrote. "Inflation in Venezuela is projected to increase 481% this year and by a staggering 1,642% next year, according to new estimates released Tuesday by the International Monetary Fund. 'Venezuela is on the precipice of hyper inflation,' says Kathryn Rooney Vera, research director at BullTick Capital Markets in Miami." In "Venezuela: the land of 500% inflation," by Patrick Gillespie, CNN Money, 12 April 2016.

         Plainly stated:  "Venezuela's economy is collapsing, its currency is too, its stores have nothing in them, and it can't keep the lights on or its people safe. The only things the Chavistas are good at is creating scapegoats, creating lines, and creating misery. Call it Maduro's law: Everything that can go wrong, will go wrong when your government makes it." In "Venezuela should be rich. Instead it’s becoming a failed state," by Matt O'Brien, Washington Post, 4 May 2016.

         Moreover, given "Marx has come back into fashion" either forgets that Marx's call was a Communist Manifesto. So are McDonnell and Corbyn Communists? To be a Marxist one must accept the Communist Manifesto whose words are unequivocal?

         On this point Corbyn waffles because the truth is that to politicians such as these "The stinking agéd model seems / seductive as some fresh coquet."

 

[ 2 ]    As counterpoint to the concerns about anti-Americanism in Hollander's and Hayes' vocabulary, one  notes concerns for the "world" in Corbyn's words which he proposes to answer.  "The world is a troubled and divided place. I will conclude with this thought. As we speak, the poorest of the poor countries in the world are getting poorer. There is more unemployment, poverty, homelessness and hunger. Resources are being transferred rapidly from the poor to the rich." Jeremy Corbyn, in a speech in the House of Commons, 18 October 1993.

         Oddly missing from such concern is an analysis of what the causes are. In the cases of Venezuela and Zimbabwe, cited above, it is the mistaken belief in Marxism combined with basic corruption. In the case of the now-historical collapse of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, it again was the founding streams of Marxist thought. But his reliance on Marxist elements in his thinking shows itself.

 

 An Internationalist Brit

 

         "I am firmly an internationalist, so I am not necessarily opposed to Europe. However, I am opposed to a fortress Europe that basically creates wealth for itself at the expense of the world, creates an undemocratic control of government for the whole of Europe, and, in truth, works only for the good of multinational corporations and banking systems. It will cause further imbalances in world poverty and world trade arrangements. I view the free market of 1992 not as an opportunity, but as a disaster for very many people throughout the world. I believe that Europe will contribute to the economic problems of the world. I do not agree with the sort of racist nonsense that has been published in the Sun and other newspapers during the past few weeks. It is a disgusting way to report matters. However, I believe that the drive towards a market economy in Europe will create poverty on the rims of Europe and an inner-colonialism in which western Europe will act as a sort of colonial master for eastern Europe and much of the rest of the world." Jeremy Corbyn, in a speech the House of Commons, 7 November 1990.

         One watches "undemocratic control of government" in socialist nations, as in Communist countries. The thought that a market economy causes poverty is unsupported historically. Rather market economies have increased prosperity over time, and this is not in the interests of the socialist ideologue who must prove this untrue to survive, all the while socialism in various nations teeters towards insolvency and collapse, as did the USSR.

         Corbyn blithely said poverty because of market-based nations acting "as a sort of colonial master" was to be blamed on "fortress Europe." Corbyn simply ignores basic news of socialism in action. One reads of a socialist Venezuela:  "Let’s be clear. Venezuela is awash in oil, just as it’s replete with farmland that has nevertheless failed to feed its people. What’s the problem? Socialism. Planned economies always fail, because planners are fallible. What’s more, because socialism concentrates the economic power at the top levels of government, corruption is rife. All of these factors are at play in Venezuela, which is now seeing inflation topping 700 percent and an economy on the brink of collapse." In "Socialism fails in Venezuela, again," Editorial, Tyler Morning Telegraph, 1 May 2016.

 

 The Difference Between Freedom and Slavery

 

         While Hollander and Hayes use the term, anti-Americanism, as the opposite of whatever it is that Americanism is, I prefer the surgical clarity of plainer words, that i, the opposition between freedom and enslavement. Economic prosperity proves to rely on greater freedom, as physicians in Socialist Cuba earn less than $50 a month while UK physicians earn much more. Farmers in "colonial" Rhodesia, once known as the "breadbasket of Africa," created a prosperity that the follow-on ZANU-PF Marxists has not equaled in a "free" Zimbabwe, with Marx-inspired leadership there increasing poverty massively.

         Given empirical evidence in the history of the last century showing collapse under enlightened Communist rule, one revisits Corbyn's own view of Marx (and therefore his and Engel's Communist Manifesto of 1848):  "Marx obviously analysed what was happening in a quite brilliant way." 

         The "capitalist foundations of the modern Western economy" are not best explained by Marxist criticism, but by human self-interest and the freedoms to pursue it. What is best explained about a dictatorship of the proletariat and one-party rule is the regular appearance of tyranny of that same proletariat and economic collapse alongside political corruption in so many instances and times that to pretend this is not so becomes ludicrous.

 

[ 3 ]    Marxist or not?  One reads: "Appearing on the BBC's Andrew Marr show, he said Marx, the philosopher behind the idea of international communism, was a great 'observer' of human life and society. He was a fascinating figure who observed a great deal and from whom we can learn a great deal,' he said." In "Jeremy Corbyn: Britain can learn from Karl Marx," by Tim Ross, Telegraph UK, 26 July 2015.

         Britain "can learn from Karl Marx," a man who lived and died in Britain, and wrote in German the "Manifest der Kommunistischen Partei" (1848). But by way of contrast with another, Adam Smith, Scot and author of "The Theory of Moral Sentiments" (1759), and "An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations" (1776), Corbyn has not said he's learned "a great deal."

         One wonders if Corbyn has noted that Marx' own text is the "Manifesto of the Communist Party." Thus it is not merely a socialist document nor a Marxist treatise, per se, but by Marx' own words and in this single text, both "socialist" and "Communist."

 

 Original Sources

 

          In the original it ends with: "Die Kommunisten verschmähen es, ihre Ansichten und Absichten zu verheimlichen. Sie erklären es offen, daß ihre Zwecke nur erreicht werden können durch den gewaltsamen Umsturz aller bisherigen Gesellschaftsordnung. Mögen die herrschenden Klassen vor einer kommunistischen Revolution zittern. Die Proletarier haben nichts in ihr zu verlieren als ihre Ketten. Sie haben eine Welt zu gewinnen."

         Some then note his enthusiasm for Marx as "observer" of life and society. "He just peddles the same old gospel of fundamentalist socialism that has created human misery wherever it has been tried." In "Absurd Marxist Jeremy Corbyn is the dying gasp of rotten Labour," by Leo McKinstry, Express UK, 14 September 2015.

         Britain as well as Corbyn and the Labour Party might learn from the collapse of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, as well as the economic chaos in a number of Marx-dedicated nations, with their loyalty to "the same old gospel."

         Politicians like Corbyn rely on most within an electorate including its media not to have read and fully comprehended Marx, the Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital.

         Additionally, the Labour Party has now had to suspend one of its own for equally idiotic politics. One reads:  "...messages on her Twitter account, now deleted, suggest strong support for Adolf Hitler who is referred to as 'my man Hitler' and the 'greatest man in history'. Another tweet hoped that Iran would use a 'nuclear weapon' to 'wipe Israel off the map'. " In "Labour councillor suspended over claims she called Hitler 'the greatest man in history'," staff report, Telegraph UK, 10 April 2016.  Mr. Corbyn's party has shown several brutal sides of late.

 

 Labour and Anti-Semitism

 

         This is followed by another Labour Party suspension and subsequent firing:  "Livingtone has repeatedly refused to apologize for the comments, even after being harangued as a 'racist, Hitler-apologist' by an MP from his own party. He has even doubled down on his remarks in an interview with an Arabic TV station, while branding the creation of Israel 'fundamentally wrong.' On Saturday, the Global Radio firm announced Livingstone - a senior aide to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn - would be having his Saturday morning show on LBC Radio cancelled as a result of his comments. LBC is London's most popular talk radio station." In "Ken Livingstone fired from radio show for anti-Semitic remarks," by Ari Soffer, Arutz Shea, 28 May 2016.

         As his own party's Members of Parliament vote of no confidence, he ignores the vote:   "Jeremy Corbyn has lost a vote of no confidence in his leadership (172 votes to 40) but is expected to battle on to force a contest in which Angela Eagle or Tom Watson is likely to be the rival candidate." In "Labour crisis: Jeremy Corbyn refuses to resign after losing confidence of 172 MPs as Angela Eagle eyes up leadership challenge," by Michael Wilkinson, Telegraph UK, 28 June 2016.

         The crisis of this era of the British Left as seen in the Labour Party under Corbyn is one of fumbling identity politics which tries to appease contradictory demands. One reads:  "...today’s Labour party has limited appetite for critically evaluating attitudes on the left to anti-Semitism. It has even less for examining the anti-Semitism within British Islam which characterises some of its Muslim members. Ms Chakrabarti certainly did not want to go there, just as a generation ago, as related in Salman Rushdie's autobiography Joseph Anton (p. 6), Keith Vaz realised it was too much trouble to go out of his way for Rushdie, even when constituents solicited the author’s murder. The left can have a relationship with Islamists, or it can have a relationship with the broad working class, in all its shapes, sizes, beliefs and colours. It cannot have a long-term relationship with both, because their values and aspirations clash. The working class does not want or understand segregation, or restrictions on freedom of speech to avoid 'offence'. It will not accept or excuse jihadi violence. It is bewildered by a Labour party which now contains people who, on social media, venerate Hitler or the transportation of Jews. It has nothing in common with the Muslim Brotherhood, no matter how good it is at buying up sections of our intelligentsia. To the existential crisis of the British left, we must add one more component: the threat to its very existence brought about by engagement with, and passive acceptance of, Islamism." In "ANALYSIS The Islamization of the Labour Party Part 2," by Paul Stott, Lapidomedia, 18 November 2016.

 

 Vote Buying

 

         In the ongoing sage, one finds a vote buying scandal to ensure Corbyn stay atop his own party as another challenges from within it. One reads:  "Labour received more than 180,000 applications to sign up as registered supporters, each paying £25 to get their vote - a total of more than £4.5 million for the party coffers. The new voters could play a decisive role in the battle between leader Mr Corbyn and challenger Owen Smith, which is also open to those of the party's 380,000-plus members who joined before January 12 as well as affiliated supporters from unions and other organisations." In "Corbyn 'vote-buying scam' exposed: Secret funds 'aim to pay back the £25 Labour sign-up fee if people join the party and then vote for the under-fire leader to retain his position against Owen Smith'," by Gerri Peev, Daily Mail, 20 July 2016.

         Such is the nature of entrenched power for many a career politician, but oddly informative who claims to heed the concerns of the people -- and is willing to buy the votes needed to rule even a political party. One might consider how different is this from the productive, proven prosperous phenomenon that Freedom is freedom is freedom .

 

[ 4 ]   The radical cheers for the Soviet Union by an American poet circa 1930 have been proven a historical error. The history is other than was imagined in 1930.

          One reads:  "The dissolution of the Soviet Union was formally enacted on December 26, 1991, as a result of the declaration no. 142-Н of the Soviet of the Republics of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union. The declaration acknowledged the independence of the former Soviet republics and created the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), although five of the signatories ratified it much later or not at all. On the previous day, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, the eighth and last leader of the Soviet Union, resigned, declared his office extinct, and handed over its powers – including control of the Soviet nuclear missile launching codes – to Russian President Boris Yeltsin. That evening at 7:32 p.m., the Soviet flag was lowered from the Kremlin for the last time and replaced with the pre-revolutionary Russian flag." In "Dissolution of the Soviet Union," Wikipedia article, n. d.

          Thus history itself rewrites an aged Communist poet's paean:  "...the revolution fails! / Through Marx, the dissolute vision, / Through Lenin, the captain of death."

          Death? Yes, indeed, as R. J. Rummel's scholarship   has collected the sad statistics of "democide," detailing that the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, from 1917-1987, was responsible for almost 62 million deaths. This among the new vocabulary penned by Rummel is that some governments are proven "mortacracies."

          Given such a murderous history, it is sad to review the false conclusion of an American poet from 1930, as to review the assertion of the UK's Labour Party leader in early 2016 that Marx -- whether via the terms Marxism or Marx' own term, Communism -- is somehow "back in fashion."

 

 Communists Could Not Be Wrong

 

          But Rummel shows the hubris that "...communists could not be wrong. After all, their knowledge was scientific, based on historical materialism, an understanding of the dialectical process in nature and human society, and a materialist (and thus realistic) view of nature. Marx has shown empirically where society has been and why, and he and his interpreters proved that it was destined for a communist end. No one could prevent this, but only stand in the way and delay it at the cost of more human misery. Those who disagreed with this world view and even with some of the proper interpretations of Marx and Lenin were, without a scintilla of doubt, wrong. After all, did not Marx or Lenin or Stalin or Mao say that. . . . In other words, communism was like a fanatical religion. It had its revealed text and chief interpreters. It had its priests and their ritualistic prose with all the answers. It had a heaven, and the proper behavior to reach it. It had its appeal to faith. And it had its crusade against nonbelievers. What made this secular religion so utterly lethal was its seizure of all the state's instrument of force and coercion and their immediate use to destroy or control all independent sources of power, such as the church, the professions, private businesses, schools, and, of course, the family." In "How Many Did Communist Regimes Murder?" by R. J. Rummel, "Power Kills," University of Hawaii, November 1993.

          While Marx holds some fascination for Corbyn and his acolytes, other reading by Rummel would educate -- "Lethal Politics: Soviet Genocides and Mass Murders 1917-1987," Rutgers, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers, 1990.

          A historical note about the "Red Renaissance" book by Lewis: the back cover proclaims in 1930 "Western poetry has gone unequivocally to the 'left', and is now interested only in verse which heralds a better social order or exposes the corruption and inequity of our present system." What the ensuing decades have revealed in the corruption, inequity and millions of deaths which the "revolution" yielded in but one of a number of revolutions of the "left."

          The model of left-right has been false for decades. Consider:  Left is Right, as Right is Left  .

 

[ 5 ]   Orwell skewers the "intelligentsia" of the Left but also skewers the "moneyed class." Sometimes they are the same, one notes. But...

          "The underlying fact was that the whole position of the moneyed class had long ceased to be justifiable. There they sat, at the centre of a vast empire and a world-wide financial network, drawing interest and profits and spending them--on what? It was fair to say that life within the British Empire was in many ways better than life outside it."

          The conclusion which may easily be reached is that those who seek great power, like those who seek great wealth are quite two sides of the same coin, the coin of the realm of politics of Left and Right .

          Thus from George Orwell's view in 1941 to Jeremy Corbyn's, a redux towards Marx of today, and the stances of today's elite of all parties' stances seeking ever more wealth and greater power, there is an annoying Infection attempting to be spread.


 

Instructed not to intervene

" 'At night we can hear them screaming, but we're not allowed to do anything about it' the Marine’s father, Gregory Buckley Sr., recalled his son telling him before he was shot to death at the base in 2012. He urged his son to tell his superiors. 'My son said that his officers told him to look the other way because it’s their culture.' Rampant sexual abuse of children has long been a problem in Afghanistan, particularly among armed commanders who dominate much of the rural landscape and can bully the population. The practice is called bacha bazi, literally 'boy play,' and American soldiers and Marines have been instructed not to intervene — in some cases, not even when their Afghan allies have abused boys on military bases, according to interviews and court records." In "U.S. Soldiers Told to Ignore Sexual Abuse of Boys by Afghan Allies," by Joseph Goldstein, New York Times, 20 September 2015.

 

It's in the culture, don't you see?
It's how it's sometimes done.
It's just some strange flippancy;
It's someone's bit of fun.
It's multicultural liberally;
It's often some locals' game.
It's happened for years, tellingly;
It's the 'buck stops nowhere' game.

 

Addendum Discharged:   "One officer, Dan Quinn, was even discharged for beating up a commander who allegedly chained a boy to a bed, raped him multiple times, then beat up his mother when she tried to save her son. And two other officers, Major Jason Brezler and Charles Martland, claim they are earmarked for forcible retirement because they flagged the issue of child sex abuse. According to Pentagon policy, sexual abuse is deemed a local concern for the Afghan Local Police unless it is deemed to be an act of war." In "American marines told to turn a blind eye to child sex abuse and now my son is dead, says father of New York marine gunned down by Afghan teen 'who was kept as a sex slave by local police chief'," Mia De Graaf For Daily Mail and Jennifer Newton for Mail Online, 21 September 2015.

 

Addendum of Impunity:  "The State Department, in its annual human rights reports, has consistently said that sexual abuse of children remains pervasive in Afghanistan. In its 2014 report, the State Department said that many child sexual abusers are not arrested, and 'there were reports security officials and those connected to the ANP (Afghan National Police) raped children with impunity'." In "US general denies any US military policy to ignore sexual abuse of boys by Afghan forces," Associated Press, 22 September 2015.   [ 1 ]

 

Addendum of the Unofficial Wink, Wink, Nudge, Nudge:   "The practice, banned while the Taliban was in power in Afghanistan, is common among Afghan military commanders and recently received global attention after returning U.S. troops pointed out the unofficial policy was to try to ignore it." In "Ghani promises crackdown on Afghan child sexual abuse," by Ed Adamczk, UPI, 24 September 2015.

 

Addendum of Not Our Problem:   "...Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, says the U.S. has no policy directing forces to overlook human rights abuses. Davis told reporters on Monday that U.S. troops can report such incidents through their chain of command, but added that sexual assault of children, 'while abhorrent, it's fundamentally an Afghan law enforcement matter'." In "U.S. Solider Punished for Helping Child Abused in Afghanistan," Associated Press, 21 September 2015.    [ 2 ]

 

Addendum Revisiting a Meaningful Campaign Speech:   "Moreover, lasting security will only come if we heed Marshall’s lesson, and help Afghans grow their economy from the bottom up. That’s why I’ve proposed an additional $1 billion in non-military assistance each year, with meaningful safeguards to prevent corruption and to make sure investments are made – not just in Kabul – but out in Afghanistan’s provinces." In "Obama’s Remarks on Iraq and Afghanistan," Barak Obama, New York Times, 15 July 2008.     [ 3 ]

 

Addendum between 2008 and 2015:   "Mr. Obama says little about the details of Afghanistan. He shows scant interest in the country, though he is to be forgiven for keeping Hamid Karzai and the other bandit chieftains of Afghanistan at bay. He is keenly aware that his own good luck in hunting down Osama bin Laden may have made a compelling case for a deep and fast withdrawal from Afghanistan. So he obliges and splits the difference." In "Obama’s Speech on The War That Is His and Isn’t," by Fouad Ajami, New Republic," 23 June 2011.

 

Addendum of Troops Staying:   "The Obama administration is nearing a decision to keep more troops in Afghanistan next year than it had intended, effectively upending its drawdown plans in response to roiling violence in the country and another false start in the effort to open peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government." In "More U.S. Troops Seen Staying in Afghanistan," by Matthew Rosenberg and Mark Mazzetti, New York Times, 19 March 2015.

 

Addendum of Pentagon Progress in Afghanistan:  "The Taliban insurgency has spread through more of Afghanistan than at any point since 2001, according to data compiled by the United Nations as well as interviews with numerous local officials in areas under threat. In addition, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan over the past two weeks has evacuated four of its 13 provincial offices around the country — the most it has ever done for security reasons — according to local officials in the affected areas." In "Afghan Taliban’s Reach Is Widest Since 2001, U.N. Says," by Rod Nordland and Joseph Goldstein, New York Times, 11 October 2015.

 

See:   A Modern Observation on The Anti-War Movement  - "Where have all the critics gone, long time passing?"

 

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]    One notes that the statement denying any US policy to "ignore sexual abuse" is not accompanied by an affirmative statement to actually become involved in incidents of sexual abuse.  Rather, low-ranking military who have done so have been reprimanded, and therefore for these military personnel's careers it would have been better for them had they ignored sexual abuse. Such it the nature of government speak in which the chain of command features many weak if not broken links.

          One must then question what the current US administration and NATO are doing in Afghanistan, if so many moral concerns are "fundamentally" another nation's or culture's concern. Why then these last seven years under Obama as regards Afghanistan?

           It becomes an odd feature of the conflict when Western morality about "sexual child abuse" is more akin to the Taliban's banning of the practice than to "warlords'" continuing practice of it, all the while the Pentagon stance differs in focus. One becomes mired in a discussion refereed by cultural relativism.

          But as to such relativism, one reads:  "... the opponent will always be able to point out that that claim is false relative to some values of the parameter, and that these values are no worse than those relative to which it is true. This brings us back to the challenge articulated above: the global relativist will have to explain what normative constraints there are on beliefs and claims. For otherwise the point of debate or of communication and thought generally remains obscure." In "Global Relativism and Self-Refutation," by Max Köbel, found in "A Companion to Relativism," ed. Steven D. Hales, John Wiley & Sons, 2011.

          Such is the dissonance between the State Department's 2014 remarks as against the Pentagon's 2015 remarks. Either "sexual abuse of children" must be confronted by all parties, or it should not. There is no "splitting the difference."

          Given the punishment meted out against American troops for confronting sexual child abuse, it seems the rhetoric contradicts the reality, and moreover "obliging" and "splitting the difference" is mere optics in place of a clear policy.

          In the same way, one notes that the war in Iraq which the Obama administration claims to have ended in 2012 rages on in another incarnation. As the US retreated from Iraq claiming the end war, war was heightened with the advent of the Islamic State's appearance in the field of battle vacated by the US and NATO. The "point of debate or of communication and thought generally remains obscure," whether it be sexual child abuse among US allies in Afghanistan -- the supposed "just" war -- or in the war raging in Iraq.

          Who is "instructed not to intervene?" Who instructs? These are pressing questions which remain "obscure," and perhaps intentionally obscure.

 

[ 2 ]   '...while abhorrent, it's fundamentally an Afghan law enforcement matter' was the report by the AP of a US government spokesperson. So when is a local behavior to be judged as local?

          A famous example from history shows the dissonance between cultural values. One reads of British values facing off against Indian values in the 19th century. A British governor general spoke of suttee, the Indian practice of burning a wife on a husband's funeral pyre. His response:  "Be it so. This burning of widows is your custom; prepare the funeral pile. But my nation has also a custom. When men burn women alive we hang them, and confiscate all their property. My carpenters shall therefore erect gibbets on which to hang all concerned when the widow is consumed. Let us all act according to national customs." Napier, William. (1851) "History Of General Sir Charles Napier's Administration Of Scinde." London: Chapman and Hall.
          In this light, the Pentagon's assertion that sexual child abuse is to be left to Afghan cultural traditions and enforcement, then the Pentagon is not acting according to normative American customs. Nor is it acting according to the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.

          Cultural values conflict, without a doubt. In this "modern era" it remains so. One reads:  "A British man and woman jailed in Dubai for kissing in public have lost their appeal against their conviction. Ayman Najafi, 24, and Charlotte Adams, 25, were sentenced to a month in prison with subsequent deportation and fined about £200 for drinking alcohol. The pair were arrested in November after a local woman accused them of breaking the country's decency laws by kissing on the mouth in a restaurant." In "Jailed Dubai kissing pair lose appeal over conviction," BBC, 4 April 2010.

          Governments seem perplexed as to when to stand for their own nations' values. One learns:  "For 32 months between December 2000 and August 2003 he was jailed in Riyadh for a murder he did not commit, the car bombing of a British engineer called Christopher Rodway in November 2000. Mitchell was tortured until he confessed, forced to read his confession on TV, tortured again to ensure he wouldn't recant, and then sentenced to death in 2002 after a 10-minute secret trial." In "'I would have confessed to anything'," a citation from "Saudi Babylon: Torture, Corruption and Cover-Up inside the House of Saud," by Mark Hollingworth with Sandy Mitchell, Mainstream Press, in Guardian UK, 10 May 2005.

          Like the Pentagon statement about obvious sexual child abuse not being of highest importance, the British government has yet to stand firmly on the side of its own citizen falsely accused, or stand against coerced confession and against torture. Such a governmental stance goes against "universal" cultural norms as the world progresses, as too many governments seem incapable of standing for high cultural values in the face of pragmatic political triangulation.

          Such as the Obama and Cameron administrations would do well to recall a crucial text. "The Universal Declaration of Human Rights," adopted in 1948, speaks of "a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations."

          Specifically as regards sexual child abuse, the declaration is clear -- and universal. One reads:  Article 3. "Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person." Article 4. "No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms." Article 5. "No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."

          The Pentagon stance and statement read above evades responsibility for advancing and protecting such basic human rights. The buck stops nowhere.

 

[ 3 ]     Meaningful safeguards were promised. Corruption continued, in spite of American political promises.

          One reads:  "More than £2bn of cash has been openly flown out of Kabul airport since 2007, raising fears huge sums of British and American aid are being creamed off by corrupt officials. " In "Aid cash feared lost as £2bn is flown out of Afghanistan," Ben Farmer, Telegraph UK, 28 June 2010. Would such corruption be, as the Pentagon stated about sexual child abuse, "fundamentally" be "an Afghan law enforcement matter?"

          As to Obama's campaign promise of 2008 that "safeguards" would "prevent corruption," one reads this did not occur. Rather the obvious, for America's latest Commander-in-Chief proved himself unable to deliver on that promise.

          "There may be a history of corruption in Afghanistan, but the United States is continuing to create tempting, rich, new targets such as fuel, and apparently enough Americans are willing to join in the illegal action." In "Afghan corruption, and how the U.S. facilitates it," by Walter Pincus, Washington Post, 5 November 2012.

          Years pass. Corruption grew.

          "...the Joint Chiefs of Staff report stands out for two reasons: It makes clear that some senior officers recognize that a major military incursion can be disastrously undermined by an overriding, nonmilitary factor, namely an illicit national economy. And it acknowledges that the U.S. military itself bears much blame for Afghanistan’s enduring mess, due to its poor understanding of Afghan traditions, mismanagement of key reform efforts, and weak oversight of its local partners. The report displays 'a critical awareness and candor often missing from official documents,' says Sopko, the special inspector general. The depth of the problem should have been clearer, the report suggests, from polls showing that many Afghan citizens believed local officials abused their power and that federal decision-making was itself corrupt. " In "The U.S. Military Was No Match for Afghanistan’s Corruption, The Pentagon wasn’t just defeated by the country’s graft—the Pentagon made it worse," by R. Jeffrey Smith, Slate, 6 May 2014.

          This same Pentagon managed to be so outraged at obvious human rights abuse as to state in 2015, "while abhorrent, it's fundamentally an Afghan law enforcement matter."

          What the Obama administration has done is turned a blind eye to this. One reads further: "The behavior of these modern slave owners belies an endemic problem that human rights advocates and even NATO military personnel operating in Afghanistan have observed for some time now, according to reports. (The U.S. State Department included the rape, abuse, and exploitation of Afghan children in its 2009 annual human rights report, released in March). But observers say the age-old ritual of man-boy predatory sex, which is obliquely condoned throughout Afghanistan because of a pervasive fear or indifference about prosecuting it on any serious level, according to numerous reports, has proliferated after decades of poverty, corruption, and a lack of enduring social institutions." In "The Rape of the Afghan Boys," by Kelley B. Vlahos, Antiwar.com, 13 April 2010.

          The Obama administration seems so conflicted with itself. It seems Queer, don't you think .


 

Floccinaucinihilipilification

Noun: rare, the action or habit of estimating something as worthless; one of a number of very long words that occur very rarely in genuine use. Mid 18th century: from Latin flocci, nauci, nihili, pili (words meaning 'at little value') + -fication. The Latin elements were listed in a well-known rule of the Eton Latin Grammar. Pronunciation breaks: flocci|nauci|nihili|pili¦fi|ca¦tion.

 

Floxy, Noxy, and nihilist Peely
Were good little Babbitts, we see.
A little long-winded, yes, it is true:
But bibbity, babbitty, boo! Tee-hee!

Now Peely, who was naughtily nice,
Ran straight for a syntactical Device,
A words' worthy trap of sesquipedalian glue,
To be caught in its lettered and queued advice.

Jaws swung open; silly Bulls wide spilled
Until poor Peely was literally filled
With all that is rare, but quite much to chew,
Lexicographically too truly skilled.

He came to a bridge at an ox ford, where
Beaten, not eaten, all quite fair and square,
He held forth, droning Floxy and Noxsy their due,
Syllabifying, so seduced through its snare.

A mouse and a cat and blackbird or two
Fill out this tale, tall telling what is true;
Peely went tongue-tied, flung into bed,
For Floxy and Noxy had been wordily fed.

If mother is cooking your alphabet stew,
Arranged, clear pronounced, well defined just for you,
Be naught like Peely, naughtily nice.

There's jolly small price for such hullabaloo.

 

Envoi:  "...floccinaucinihilipilification meaning the act of estimating something as worthless, or to quote Churchill 'this is the sort of language up with which I am fed'." In a message by David Robert Coleman to my wife, 24 September 2015.

 

Addendum of Long Words:  "From hippopotomonstrosesquipedalian, an extension of sesquipedalian with monstrum ‎('monster') and a truncated, misspelled form of hippopotamus, intended to exaggerate the length of the word itself and the idea of the size of the words being feared; combined with phobia." In "hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia," Wiktionary article, 24 July 2015.   [ 1 ]

 

Addendum of Precise Fertility:   "A man with a scant vocabulary will almost certainly be a weak thinker. The richer and more copious one's vocabulary and the greater one's awareness of fine distinctions and subtle nuances of meaning, the more fertile and precise is likely to be one's thinking. Knowledge of things and knowledge of the words for them grow together. If you do not know the words, you can hardly know the thing." Henry Hazlitt, "Thinking as a Science," 1916.

 

Addendum of Vocabulary That Ain't a Picture:    "Dear me, what would this barren vocabulary get out of the mightiest spectacle?"    [ 2 ]

 

 Addendum of Cut-Rate Fertility:   "...you ever met someone who's babbling 'like' after 'like,' and then suddenly inserts a zinger of a vocabulary word such as 'sycophant,' which means a person who acts obsequiously toward someone important in order to gain advantage (or 'obsequiously,' which means full of or exhibiting servile compliance)? All of a sudden, you're looking at this person in a whole new light. Maybe they're smarter than you thought they were." In "11 Words That Will Make You Sound Super Smart," by Shelley Emling, Huffington Post, 28 October 2013.

 

Addendum of Grammar, Nonsense and Learning:   "Let schoolmasters puzzle their brain / With grammar, and nonsense, and learning, / Good liquor, I stoutly maintain, / Gives GENUS a better discerning." In "She Stoops to Conquer, or, The Mistakes of a Night," by Oliver Goldsmith (1773).

 

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]   The article cites another: "However, we assume that despite the best endeavours of science, some phobias will always remain. These include paraskavedekatriaphobia, or fear of Friday the 13th. And hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia, which is fear of long words."  By anonymous, The Scotsman, page 13, 19 April 2002.  Sesquipedalophobia – fear of long words -- is mentioned as well. Ere long....

 

[ 2 ]  The quote in full:   “The truth is, Alisande, these archaics are a little too simple; the vocabulary is too limited, and so, by consequence, descriptions suffer in the matter of variety; they run too much to level Saharas of fact, and not enough to picturesque detail; this throws about them a certain air of the monotonous; in fact the fights are all alike: a couple of people come together with great random -- random is a good word, and so is exegesis, for that matter, and so is holocaust, and defalcation, and usufruct and a hundred others, but land! a body ought to discriminate -- they come together with great random, and a spear is brast, and one party brake his shield and the other one goes down, horse and man, over his horse-tail and brake his neck, and then the next candidate comes randoming in, and brast his spear, and the other man brast his shield, and down he goes, horse and man, over his horse-tail, and brake his neck, and then there’s another elected, and another and another and still another, till the material is all used up; and when you come to figure up results, you can’t tell one fight from another, nor who whipped; and as a picture , of living, raging, roaring battle, sho! why, it’s pale and noiseless—just ghosts scuffling in a fog. Dear me, what would this barren vocabulary get out of the mightiest spectacle?—the burning of Rome in Nero’s time, for instance? Why, it would merely say, ‘Town burned down; no insurance; boy brast a window, fireman brake his neck!’ Why, that ain’t a picture!”   In "A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court." Mark Twain, 1890, New York, NY: Charles L. Webster and Co.


 

Happy PD - public domain breaks the chain

 

"... the judge ruled that no evidence existed that the Summy Co. -- the original company to assert a copyright claim -- ever legally obtained the rights to the 'Happy Birthday To You' song from whomever wrote it. Tuesday's ruling means that the song is now considered a public work and is free for everyone to use without fear of having to pay for it, according to a statement from the plaintiffs' attorneys. Jennifer Nelson, one of the filmmaker plaintiffs and owner of Good Morning to You productions, called the decision a 'great victory for musicians, artists and people around the world who have waited decades for this'." In "All the 'Happy Birthday' song copyright claims are invalid, federal judge rules," by Christine Mai-Duc, Los Angeles Times, 22 September 2015.

 

Happy PD to us,

Happy PD to us,

What was all that fuss, then?

Happy PD to us.

 

Envoi:  "The term 'public domain' refers to creative materials that are not protected by intellectual property laws such as copyright, trademark, or patent laws. The public owns these works, not an individual author or artist. Anyone can use a public domain work without obtaining permission, but no one can ever own it. An important wrinkle to understand about public domain material is that, while each work belongs to the public, collections of public domain works may be protected by copyright." In "Welcome to the Public Domain," Stanford University website, crediting "Getting Permission" by Rich Stim, Nolo Press, October 2010.

 

Addendum of the Decision:   "The summary judgment record shows that there are triable issues of fact as to whether Patty wrote the Happy Birthday lyrics in the late Nineteenth Century and whether Mildred may have shared an interest in them as a co-author. Even assuming this is so, neither Patty nor Mildred nor Jessica ever did anything with their common law rights in the lyrics. For decades, with the possible exception of The Everyday Songbook in 1922, the Hill sisters did not authorize any publication of the lyrics. They did not try to obtain federal copyright protection. They did not take legal action to prevent the use of the lyrics by others, even as Happy Birthday became very popular and commercially valuable. In 1934, four decades after Patty supposedly wrote the song, they finally asserted their rights to the Happy Birthday/Good Morning melody -- but still made no claim to the lyrics. Defendants ask us to find that the Hill sisters eventually gave Summy Co. the rights in the lyrics to exploit and protect, but this assertion has no support in the record. The Hill sisters gave Summy Co. the rights to the melody, and the rights to the piano arrangements based on the melody, but never any rights to the lyrics. Defendants' speculation that the pleadings in the Hill-Summy lawsuit somehow show that the Second Agreement involved a transfer of rights in the lyrics is implausible and unreasonable. Defendants' suggestion that the Third Agreement effected such a transfer is circular and fares no better." In Conclusion, Case No. CV 13-4460-GHK (MRWx), Memorandum and Order Re: 1) Cross-motions for Summary Judgment (Dkt. 179); 2) Defendants' Motion for Leave to File Supplemental Evidence (Dkt. 223); and 3) Plaintiffs' Ex Parte Application to Supplement the Record (Dkt. 224), by George H. King, United States District Court for the Central District of California, 22 September 2015.

 

Addendum of the Politics and Law:   "The Copyright Term Extension Act (CTEA) of 1998 extended copyright terms in the United States. Since the Copyright Act of 1976, copyright would last for the life of the author plus 50 years, or 75 years for a work of corporate authorship. The 1976 Act also increased the extension term for works copyrighted before 1978 that had not already entered the public domain from twenty-eight years to forty-seven years, giving a total term of seventy-five years. The 1998 Act extended these terms to life of the author plus 70 years and for works of corporate authorship to 120 years after creation or 95 years after publication, whichever endpoint is earlier. Copyright protection for works published prior to January 1, 1978, was increased by 20 years to a total of 95 years from their publication date. This law, also known as the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, Sonny Bono Act, or (derisively) the Mickey Mouse Protection Act, effectively 'froze' the advancement date of the public domain in the United States for works covered by the older fixed term copyright rules. Under this Act, additional works made in 1923 or afterwards that were still protected by copyright in 1998 will not enter the public domain until 2019 or afterward (depending on the date of the product) unless the owner of the copyright releases them into the public domain prior to that. ...Both houses of the United States Congress passed the act as Public Law 105-298 with a voice vote.  President Bill Clinton signed the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 on October 27, 1998." In "Copyright Term Extension Act," Wikipedia article, n. d.

 

Addendum of Warner Settlement of Class Action Suit:   "...the settlement provides a big final act to the class action lawsuit brought by film director Jennifer Nelson, who was making a documentary about 'Happy Birthday' and was asked to pay a $1,500 license fee. She sued to hinder Warners from ever forcing film and TV producers, or others, to pay again. The plaintiffs argued that a song appearing in early 20th-century children's textbooks had to be in the public domain because of general publication, abandonment or the length of the copyright term. By agreeing to the settlement, Warners avoids going to trial to determine whether it should be punished for collecting licensing money for many decades." In "Warner Music Pays $14 Million to End 'Happy Birthday' Copyright Lawsuit," Eric Gardner, Hollywood Reporter, 9 February 2016.

 

 Addendum of Having to Pay Back:   "A judge has approved a settlement that will put 'Happy Birthday to You' in the public domain and ordered the companies that collected royalties on the song for years to pay back $14 million. U.S. District Judge George King approved the agreement on Monday. It ends the ownership claims of Warner/Chappell Music, the music publishing company that has been collecting royalties on the song for more than 20 years." In "Company that collected royalties for 'Happy Birthday' ordered to pay back $14million after judge approves settlement that puts the song in the public domain," Associated Press, 28 June 2016.

 

 Addendum of What Is Paramount:   " 'To claim copyright in a language is to claim ownership over all possible thoughts and artistic expression that might employ that language," the attorneys argue in the amicus brief. "If not ownership, such a claim at least provides some support for the idea that the copyright owner could, at some point, simply pull the plug on any future development in the language'." In "Paramount Copyright Claim on Klingon Language Challenged in Klingon Language," by Ed Krayewski, Reason, 28 April 2016.

 

 

 

 Addendum of Bolero Freed in the USA:   "Ravel died unmarried and childless in 1937. His only heir was his brother Edouard, who died in 1960, unleashing a bitter and complex legal battle over the rights which at times has involved Edouard's nurse and her husband, great-nephews and even a legal director of SACEM. But on Sunday, the royalties will cease to be paid as Bolero enters the public domain -- and belongs to the world." In "Copyright expires on Bolero, world's most famous classical crescendo," by Franck Iovene, Agence France Presse, 30 April 2016. 

 

NOTES

 

          One may read of the ironic copyright flap over Karl Marx' works in English translation, as translators of texts about abolishing private property wrangle over private property rights. See: People before profits  , the addenda and detailed footnotes.
          One may also read of those who Strike it rich -- in this case, especially in the "Addendum of a Hefty Settlement Fee sought by Warner Brothers  ," and the addenda and footnotes to Greedy - the eighth dwarf is needy.

          Judge King ended his decision:  "Because Summy Co. never acquired the rights to the Happy Birthday lyrics, Defendants, as Summy Co.'s purported successors-in-interest, do not own a valid copyrights in the Happy Birthday lyrics."

          One waits now for all who over decades paid Warner-Chappell for performance rights for an invalid copyright claim to sue for redress as for return of monies paid and perhaps penalties as well. Such is the nature of litigation for all parties thereto, as true for capitalists as for such as the translators of such as Marx' anti-capitalist prose.

          As to the politics of this "Mickey Mouse Protection Act" of 1998, one notes that America's Left and Right agreed to extend greater protection for corporate interests over the public's interest in public domain works. One waits to see what the years leading to 2019 will bring in terms of lobbying by copyright holders. Will the copyright climate "freeze" again? It is assured that some corporate interests lobby for this, even to the end of what is termed a "perpetual copyright."

          As to some history of this notion, under the heading of a battle between booksellers, one reads: "When Donaldson v Beckett reached the House of Lords in 1774 Lord Camden was most strident in his rejection of the common law copyright, warning the Lords that should they vote in favour of common law copyright, effectively a perpetual copyright, 'all our learning will be locked up in the hands of the Tonsons and the Lintots of the age'. Moreover he warned that booksellers would then set upon books whatever price they pleased 'till the public became as much their slaves, as their own hackney compilers are'. He declared that 'Knowledge and science are not things to be bound in such cobweb chains.' In its ruling the House of Lords established that copyright was a 'creature of statute', and that the rights and responsibilities in copyright were determined by legislation. By confirming that the copyright term (that is the length of time a work is in copyright) did expire according to statute, the Lords also affirmed the public domain." In "Perpetual copyright," Wikipedia, n. d.

          One should add that culture and tradition should not "be bound in such cobweb chains." There are those who disagree and are so often still active proponents of chains effected by "statute."


 

Anne O'Malley - down the dillydally alley

"In her tweets about the situation, Petosky said that TSA agents calibrated the scanner for a woman, and the machine flagged an anomaly -- 'my penis.' She said she 'disclosed [her] reality immediately,' but the situation quickly escalated: Over the course of 40 minutes, Petosky said, officials patted her down twice, 'fully disassembled' her luggage and put her in an empty room with an officer holding the door." In "Transgender woman says TSA detained, humiliated her over body 'anomaly'," by James Queally, Los Angeles Times, 22 September 2015.   [ 1 ]

 

Anne O'Malley's Peen was seen;
    Patty Down therefore was keen
To hammer Anne's He from Gene,
    Though She dressed in another mien.
Thus tweets the Birdie libertine,
    "Standing in line too serpentine
To be groped just to demean,
    I am She with her He machine.
Humiliated, stand I in between.
    Oh, alas, alack, I lean,
A this-and-that way Figurine."
    All states' rules so byzantine
Must be changed, thereby to glean
    Anne O'Malley's Peen is Queen
Of each such outraged, upstaged scene.
    All the world's a Stage to preen,
Awaiting the Surgeon's guillotine.

    The kindest Cut, quick and clean

Could clip this Tale unforeseen.

    Jennie Dare's dangling words careen,

Infecting the language with gangrene.

 

Envoi:   "Adults may display anxiety and depressive symptoms. Some adult males have a history of transvestic fetishism as well as other paraphilias. Associated personality disorders are more common among males than among females being evaluated at adult gender clinics." In "Gender Identity Disorder," Psychology Today, 17 February 2015.

 

 Addendum of Being Neuter and Regrets Aplenty:   "World renowned sex change surgeon, Dr. Stanley Biber, in a letter to the Superior Court of California, County of San Mateo, after performing male-to-female sex change surgery, admitting the resulting genital sex is 'neuter' not 'female' as he claimed on medical records.Contrary to what you may think, male-to-female sex change surgery is a sex change in name (documentation) only." In "Things I've Learned," by Walt Heyer, SexChangeRegret, circa 2013.

 

Addendum of Diagnosis and Treatment Access:  "In the upcoming fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), people whose gender at birth is contrary to the one they identify with will be diagnosed with gender dysphoria. This diagnosis is a revision of DSM-IV’s criteria for gender identity disorder and is intended to better characterize the experiences of affected children, adolescents, and adults. ... For a person to be diagnosed with gender dysphoria, there must be a marked difference between the individual’s expressed/experienced gender and the gender others would assign him or her, and it must continue for at least six months. In children, the desire to be of the other gender must be present and verbalized. This condition causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. Gender dysphoria is manifested in a variety of ways, including strong desires to be treated as the other gender or to be rid of one’s sex characteristics, or a strong conviction that one has feelings and reactions typical of the other gender. The DSM-5 diagnosis adds a post-transition specifier for people who are living full-time as the desired gender (with or without legal sanction of the gender change). This ensures treatment access for individuals who continue to undergo hormone therapy, related surgery, or psychotherapy or counseling to support their gender transition." In "Gender dysphoria Fact Sheet," American Psychiatric Association, 2013.

 

Addendum of Wanting a Phrase Banned from the Language:   "...every conversation has ended the same way, with the teacher saying, 'Oh you know, boys will be boys.' That statement effectively ends the conversation because it leaves me too stunned and flabbergasted to respond. I bite my tongue each time because I don’t want to be THAT parent who is viewed as oversensitive and disengaged from reality. I also want to have a productive dialogue that will allow the preschool to hear my concerns in a way that may allow them to shift their thinking about how they address these issues." In "The Danger of “Boys Will Be Boys,' Why this phrase should be banned from vocabulary," by Elizabeth J. Meyer, Psychology Today, 14 March 2014.   [ 2 ]

 

Addendum of a Culture that Expects and Demands:   "What makes a male child become a 'boy,' as we understand that concept socially? In her new book, When Boys Become Boys, Judy Y. Chu reports on her two-year study in which she followed a group of boys from pre-kindergarten through first grade. She concluded that most of what we think of as 'boy' behavior isn't natural or authentic to boys, but is something they learn to perform. Boys aren't stoic or aggressive or hierarchical; they aren't bad at forming relationships or unable to express themselves. They pick up all these traditional traits of masculinity by adapting to a culture that expects and demands that they do so." In "How Boys Teach Each Other to Be Boys," by Noah Berlatsky, Atlantic, 6 June 2014.

 

Addendum of Missing Parts:   "Occasionally, the hormones that trigger the development of sex and gender may not work properly on the brain, reproductive organs and genitals, causing differences between them. For example, the biological sex (as determined physically by the reproductive organs and genitals) could be male, while the gender identity (as determined by the brain) could be female. This may be caused by additional hormones in the mother’s system (possibly as a result of taking medication), or by the foetus’s insensitivity to the hormones, known as androgen insensitivity syndrome (AIS). When this happens, gender dysphoria may be caused by hormones not working properly in the womb." In "Gender dysphoria - Causes," National Health Service, United Kingdom, 29 April 2014.   [ 3 ]

 

Addendum of Being Not Actually Women:   "At least eight players on Iran’s national women’s soccer team are not actually women, according to regional reports lambasting the Islamic Republic for unethical practices. These eight players have not fully completed sex change operations, yet they are currently playing for the Iranian female team, according to Arab language reports carried by Al Arabiya." In "Players on Iran’s Female Soccer Team ‘Not Fully Women’," Washington Free Beacon, 29 September 2015.    [ 4 ]

 

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]   A "transgender woman" is a phrase made up of an adjective and a noun. If the individual in question claims identity as a female, is not then the use of the adjective itself a signifier of offence committed by the writer of the article? If that "transgender woman" speaks of "my penis," then the latest definitions of gender words should include the body part as a part (pun intended) of the definition. Perhaps then for the "transgender man," a vagina might also be part of the definition. At this point, what are such definitions, as the politics of word play continues?

          As to the notion of a transgender woman with a penis, unintended hilarity can ensue when one recalls some lines from a poem, such as:  " 'A woman can be proud and stiff / When on love intent; ..." In "Crazy Jane Talks with the Bishop," by William Butler Yeats, 1933.

          The same can be made tragi-comic, drawing lines from a novel such as:  "Men don't know women, or they would be harder to them." In "The Claverings," by Anthony Trollope, 1867.

          Or one might read with "his penis" in mind:  "What song the Syrens sang, or what name Achilles assumed when he hid himself among women, though puzzling questions, are not beyond all conjecture." In "Hydriotaphia, Urn Burial, Thomas Browne,(1658). 

          That quote opens a famous short story which speaks of the analyst:  "... the analyst in that moral activity which disentangles. He derives pleasure from even the most trivial occupations bringing his talent into play. He is fond of enigmas, of conundrums, of hieroglyphics; exhibiting in his solutions of each a degree of acumen which appears to the ordinary apprehension præternatural." In "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," by Edgar Allen Poe, 1841.

          As to costuming this little drama played out by an Anne O'Malley and a Patty Down, one may rely on literature:  "A sweet disorder in the the dress / Kindles in clothes a wantonness: / A lawn about the shoulders thrown / Into a fine distraction...."  In "Delight in Disorder," by Robert Herrick (1591-1674).

          One reads below of enigmas and conundrums as disturbance, distress, disorder and such. Such are some anomalies showing themselves in this supposedly modern world. Shall one take delight in them?

        

[ 2 ]    The issue becomes language itself, and what lies at the heart of the matter then is a simple question: who defines a word?

          Can a word, in fact, be defined, or are definitions to be always in flux? If two disagree as to definition, which is to claimed as the authoritative voice, and which must be subordinated?

          When a word or phrase "effectively ends the conversation," as was claimed, because it left the writer "too stunned and flabbergasted to respond," then why have a conversation in which inflammatory words and offensive phrases are to be continuously adjudicated, thereby stopping the conversation to begin with?

          What is "natural?" What is "authentic?" When one begins to question words as well as stereotypes, and yet makes global statements such as "boys aren't stoic," are not other stereotypes being asserted and the hierarchy of "who decides" assumed. If "traditional traits of masculinity" can be spoken of, as another excerpt shows, is not the language then itself suspect, guilty of that which it sentences others to be guilty?

          Who is to be a singular authority as to which words and phrases are to be banned? Each individual, individually? The state? And what traditions are to be kept and which abandoned? Says who? And why?

 

[ 3 ]    For some the problem is one of language, affecting individual and societal behaviors. For others it is a clinical issue of great importance, whether one terms it a "disturbance," a "stress," a "disorder" or that dreaded and often banned "illness."

          As the NHS notes:  "The disturbance can be so pervasive that the mental lives of some individuals revolve only around activities that lessen gender distress. They are often preoccupied with appearance, especially early in the transition to living in the opposite sex role. Relationships with parents also may be seriously impaired. Some males with gender identity disorder resort to self-treatment with hormones and may (very rarely) perform their own castration or penectomy. Especially in urban centers, some males with the disorder may engage in prostitution, placing them at a high risk for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Suicide attempts and substance-related disorders are common."

          As a "transgender woman" speaks of "my penis" in the course of a "situation quickly escalated," distress was the result of the disturbance. Is the "transgender woman" an individual with "a disorder?" Or should one remain "too stunned and flabbergasted to respond?"

          Almost too easy to turn into irony, some media are noting that one celebrity transgender still has her/his "Bruce." And as to sex reassignment surgery, one follows this celebrity:  "It’s a woman’s prerogative, and it’s not too late for Caitlyn Jenner to change her mind. Sources say the former Olympic decathlon champion still has her penis, and could revert to being a man, if being Caitlyn doesn’t work out." In "Caitlyn Jenner still has her penis," by Richard Johnson, Page Six, 3 June 2015.
          One notes the grammar in the article -- "still has her penis...." Such must be the nature of "a woman's prerogative" in this era of Wordalacious permutations .

          More obvious than this so-called anomaly, Jenner still has male chromosomes, and therefore at the cellular level, "her" chromosomes will continue to be "male."

          Shall this era bring along a redefinition of the science of biology and anatomy, both now to conform to political whims?  The tendency is there in politics as one might observe in e review of a recent Soviet political practice. See footnote 4 to another rhyme and supporting addenda , which reviews the Soviet enthusiasm for fake science of Lysenko.

          Who defines what? Or does the whole discussion about gender as represented in language simply descend into a Hen Party - a eunuch's cluck?

 

[ 4 ]    A transgender woman states she has a penis, specifically "my penis," to the TSA in the United States. One wonders then what the "not fully women" of the Iranian football team "have."

          One reads a recent report:  "Ahmad Hashemian, head of the Iranian football federation's medical committee, said the clubs themselves were now obliged to carry out medical examinations to establish the gender of their players before signing them on contracts. 'If these people can solve their problems through surgery and be in a position to receive the necessary medical qualifications, they will then be able to participate in [women's] football,' Mr Hashemian, a qualified doctor, said in remarks quoted by IRNA, the state news agency. Sex changes are commonly carried out in phases in Iran, with the full procedure taking up to two years and including hormone therapy before the full gender transformation is completed. Seven players have already had their contracts terminated under the federation's gender test directive, according to IRNA." In "Iranian women footballers to undergo gender tests," by Robert Tait, Telegraph UK, 7 February 2014.

          Another report is more direct:  "Four footballers from Iran's national women's team have been banned from playing - because they are in fact blokes. The quartet are among a several top 'female' players in the Islamic Republic found to be men awaiting sex-change operations. Yet despite the country’s ban on homosexuality and sex before marriage, the stars have been told they will be allowed back after surgery." In "Four Iranian women footballers banned from playing because they are MEN," by Chris Richards, Mirror UK, 11 February 2014.


 

Tom, Dick and Harry

Tom, Dick and Harry
Built their tidy town;
Two voted one
Should wear its crown.
The one who voted nay
Was seen to frown,
And then he moved away.
The town shrunk down.

Betty, Sue and Martha
Were a clique of three;
Two elected one
By eminent decree.
The third, not included,
Elected then to flee.
The group collapsed
Like a trunk-sawn tree.

Various hues and colors
Of brightly cheery types

Clashed and collided
Amid the colored gripes.
Choosing up sides
According to types,
The harmony of colors
Was slashed with stripes.

Folks with differing canons
Believed assorted thought.
Ire rose in time;
Over much they fought.
What was happy business --
Each from the other bought --
Turned to open warfare
Their antipathy had brought.

One may choose a choice
As one so often might,
The choice being obvious:
Cooperate or fight.
One would think this easy,
And think folks bright,
But all too often hatred
Is the choice, the fact, the slight.


 

Idle days

Idle days are spells to have
        'gainst idols of the day.
Idylls sing pastoral songs
        which carry woes away.
Wondering wanders woodlands
        to loose what lies behind
As onward into quiet
        strolls the idling mind.


 

Cycles - here today, though gone tomorrow

Things collapse when struts erode,
    As supports are torn away.
        Each cycling cycles down its road
            As day turns into day.
What tumbles turns to fodder,
    Scavenged to prop anew.
        What falls finds new solder
            To rise up into view,
Reformed, rebuilt, yet transient
    Form and edifice.
        These -- impermanent, variant --
            Rise on a past like this.
Fleeting in each interim,
    The models yet abide,
        Patterns re-erect and shim
            What cycles tossed aside.
What goes around, comes around,
    So says the well-worn phrase,
        And this, across a changing ground,
            Abides throughout our days.
Things collapse as struts erode;
    Supports are yanked aside.
        The cycles curve by cusp and node,
            Birthing what once died.


 

Answers exist

Answers exist; keep reading;
    Keep watch, well waiting to see.
    How it all ends is misleading;
    All ends, friends, eventually.
For whom does it end? Or why?
    And where is the border of what?
    Our chrysalis song prints butterfly
    On synapses, muscles and gut.

Questions ask; by their asking,
    Inquiries litter our road,
    Bitter mistakes unmasking
    Blind alleys through which we strode.
Answers there were and are;
    Answers will be, yet unseen.
    Leading all on is that pole star
    Which centers, while failings careen.

Answers exist; keep believing.
    Keep faith, while working to learn
    The warp and the woof of life's weaving
    Bright brilliant in time must burn.
The answerer lights that next candle
    Where darkness once reigned supreme;
    Answers exist, each a handle
    To aim illuminations' beam.


 

It's too good to be true - this applies to you

"Believe it or not, many economists argue that the economy needs a sufficient amount of public debt out there to function well. And how much is sufficient? Maybe more than we currently have. That is, there’s a reasonable argument to be made that part of what ails the world economy right now is that governments aren’t deep enough in debt. I know that may sound crazy." In "Debt Is Good," by Paul Krugman, New York Times, 21 August 2015.   [ 1 ]

 

I know that may sound crazy, but....

 

It's too good to be true;
Now drop your dime on that,
Or dollar up the ante
But ignore the caveat.
 
Caveat emptor -- Buyer, beware;
The warning bells alarm.
If none will heed the signals
It's sure there will come harm.
 
When too good to be true,
Why blinds the eye to signs?
Belly up to the bidding war
Where each heady dream shines.
 
More's the pity for the world
As dreams prop empty voids,
Bubbling, blowing, burgeoning,
"Too good" cry out tabloids.

The winners rush to claim
What losers they'll become;
In every gamed casino
The winning's just for some.

That last fool in's the one to fool
If one would sell the failing gruel
Of promises' spawned in a sinking pool
Where cash is king was always the rule.

 

I know that may sound crazy, but....

 
It's too good to be true;
Now drop big bucks on that,
Exploding wide the ante
While ignoring the caveat.

Caveat emptor - Buyer, beware;
Cassandras have their say.
When none will heed such warning,
Privation comes that day.

 

 Envoi:    "James S. Chanos built one of the largest fortunes on Wall Street by foreseeing the collapse of Enron and other highflying companies whose stories were too good to be true. Now Mr. Chanos, a wealthy hedge fund investor, is working to bust the myth of the biggest conglomerate of all: China Inc. As most of the world bets on China to help lift the global economy out of recession, Mr. Chanos is  warning that China’s hyperstimulated economy is headed for a crash, rather than the sustained boom that most economists predict." In "Contrarian Investor Sees Economic Crash in China," by David Barbozajan, New York Times, 7 January 2010.   [ 2 ]

 

Addendum of Debt As Future Consumption Denied:    "Debt is future consumption brought forward into the present, but a corollary is that debt is also future consumption denied. If you will have to pay both principal and interest on debt in the future, then you are setting aside and spending money on debt service that is no longer available for current consumption. And, yes, that debt service goes to bondholders, but their return of capital does not necessarily express itself in consumption or further lending."    In "Excess debt is like a black hole, sucking in all the life around it," by John Mauldin, Thoughts From The Frontline, Business Insider, 25 February 2015.   [ 3 ]

 

Addendum of a Worldwide Warning over Debt:   "The IMF said corporate debts in emerging markets ballooned to $18 trillion (£12 trillion) last year, from $4 trillion in 2004 as companies gorged themselves on cheap debt." In "World set for emerging market mass default, warns IMF," by Szu Ping Chan, Telegraph UK, 29 September 2015.    [ 4 ]

 

Addendum of Quantitative Easing into Communism:   "...this is the endgame of QE: Exploding debt, financial distortion, prolonged stagnation, recurring recession, and the eventual government takeover of industry and the economy. This appears to be the preferred alternative of politicians and bankers who simply refuse to let the free markets function the way they are supposed to. If interest rates were never manipulated by central banks and QE had never been invented, the markets could have purged themselves years ago of the speculative bubbles and mal-investments. Sure we could have had a deeper recession, but it also could have been much shorter, and it could have been followed by a far more robust and sustainable recovery. Instead Washington has joined Tokyo on the road to Leningrad." In "QE’s Creeping Communism," by Peter Schiff, Euro Pacific, 3 November 2015.   [ 5 ]

 

Addendum of High Debt Hampering:   "The European Union on Thursday predicted the region's economy will grow at "a modest pace" next year thanks to cheap energy and central bank stimulus, but remains hampered by low investment and high debt." In "EU predicts 'modest' economic recovery next year," by Raf Casert, Associated Press, 5 November 2015.

 

Addendum of South Africa Learning Debt is not Good:    "... the country is again moving towards the edge of an economic precipice. Public debt is rising fast, as are the costs of servicing it. The economy has staggered to a near-standstill. On December 4th Fitch, a rating agency, cut its assessment of South Africa’s creditworthiness, saying its debt was now just one notch above 'junk', financial jargon for bonds below a certain rating that have a higher risk of not being repaid. On the same day Standard & Poor’s, another agency, changed its outlook for the country, implying it was likely to downgrade its rating to junk over the next two years." In "South Africa gets a rating downgrade," Economist, 7 December 2015.

 

Addendum of Communist Chinese Debt:   "A major contributor for this imminent recession is the fallout from a faltering Chinese economy. The megalomaniac communist government has increased debt 28 times since the year 2000. Taking that total north of 300 percent of GDP in a very short period of time for the primary purpose of building a massive unproductive fixed asset bubble that adds little to GDP. Now that this debt bubble is unwinding, growth in China is going offline. The renminbi's falling value, cascading Shanghai equity prices (down 40 percent since June 2014) and plummeting rail freight volumes (down 10.5 percent year over year), all clearly illustrate that China is not growing at the promulgated 7 percent, but rather isn't growing at all." In "A recession worse than 2008 is coming," by Michael Pento, CNBC, 15 January 2016.   [ 6 ]

 

Addendum of a Potent Cause for Mischief:   " 'Debts have continued to build up over the last eight years and they have reached such levels in every part of the world that they have become a potent cause for mischief,' he said. 'It will become obvious in the next recession that many of these debts will never be serviced or repaid, and this will be uncomfortable for a lot of people who think they own assets that are worth something,' he told The Telegraph on the eve of the World Economic Forum in Davos. In "World faces wave of epic debt defaults, fears central bank veteran," by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph UK, 19 January 2016.

 

Addendum of Krugman's New York Times and Bad Debts:   "Bad debts have been a drag on economic activity ever since the financial crisis of 2008, but in recent months, the threat posed by an overhang of bad loans appears to be rising. China is the biggest source of worry. Some analysts estimate that China’s troubled credit could exceed $5 trillion, a staggering number that is equivalent to half the size of the country’s annual economic output." In "Toxic Loans Around the World Weigh on Global Growth.," by Peter Eavis, New York Times, 3 February 2016.

 

Addendum of Foreseeing Uncontrollable German Debt:   "An internal government report seen by Die Welt am Sonntag predicts that Germany will have to take on uncontrollable debt if it doesn’t start making huge budget cuts now. It’s the same old problem: not only Germans are living longer than ever before, they’re not producing enough offspring to replace them in the workforce. The result will be levels of debt reaching 220 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2060 - well above the 60 percent limit for EU member states set out by the Maastricht Treaty in 1992 - experts from inside Wolfgang Schäuble's finance ministry have calculated." In "Germany ‘must act now to defuse debt time bomb’," TheLocal.de, 12 February 2016.    [ 7 ]

 

Addendum of Older Americans' Larger Debt:   "Americans in their 50s, 60s and 70s are carrying unprecedented amounts of debt, a shift that reflects both the aging of the baby boomer generation and their greater likelihood of retaining mortgage, auto and student debt at much later ages than previous generations. The average 65-year-old borrower has 47% more mortgage debt and 29% more auto debt than 65-year-olds had in 2003, according to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York released Friday." In "New York Fed Finds Large Increase in Debts Held by Those Over Age 50," by Josh Zumbrun, Nasdaq, 12 February 2016.   [ 8 ]

 

Addendum of Having Been Too Good To Be True:   "Cheap money has led to an explosion in debt, taken on by governments, households and companies – and despite the 2008 crisis being caused by too much debt, the levels have risen since, he says. 'Overall debt has gone from 200 per cent of global GDP in 2007 to 250 per cent now. The deleveraging hasn’t happened,' he said, by which he means companies, households and governments have not paid back enough debt to be ready for the next crisis." In " 'Look out, we are heading for a crash again', warns William White, the central banker who predicted 2008 crisis," by Alex Hawkes, Mail On Sunday, 13 February 2016.

 

Addendum of Debt Is Good, Chicago Style:   "The teachers’ retirement fund is short about $9.6 billion. The school system owes more than $6 billion to its bondholders. On Wall Street, Chicago schools have the makings of following the same path as Puerto Rico, which is struggling with a $70 billion debt crisis. 'They’ve run out of road,' says Dick Simpson, a former city alderman who teaches political science at the University of Illinois at Chicago. How did it come to this? Among the many culprits, real or perceived, are recalcitrant unions, inept administrators, feckless politicians and self-interested bankers. But, in the end, the simple answer is this: too much debt. The budget math is sobering. Since 2007, actual district spending has soared by more than a third, even as enrollment has fallen 4 percent." In "School of Debt: How to Bankrupt Public Education, Chicago-Style," by Elizabeth Campbell, Bloomberg, 16 February 2016.

 

 Addendum of Graduating Debtors:   "Today total outstanding student loan debt in the US is $1.2 trillion. Only home mortgage debt is higher. About 40 million Americans hold student loans and about 70% of bachelor’s degree recipients graduate with debt. Those who graduated in 2015 left college holding an average of $35,051 before earning their first paycheck to pay that debt off. One in four student loan borrowers are either in delinquency or default… Are we still to believe that such debt doesn’t matter because 'we owe it to ourselves' Professor Krugman." In "Behind the Facade: America, The Bankrupt Hegemon," by F. William Engdahl, New Eastern Outlook, 6 March 2016.

 

 Addendum of Benefits Without Paying For Them:   "For years, the territory’s government piled on the benefits without paying for them. Now, it faces the prospect of stiffing retirees, or foreign creditors ... or both." In "Puerto Rico’s other crisis: impoverished pensions," by Nick Brown, Reuters, 7 April 2016.

 

Addendum of Debt Is "Good," Globally:   "Government debt in 20 industrialized countries stands at $44 trillion. But it’s actually a lot more than that, according to a new report. After factoring in public pension and other retirement liabilities, the debt levels nearly triple to a staggering $122 trillion." In "Global Government Debt Is Actually Triple What We Thought, Thanks to Pensions," by Timothy W. Martin, Wall Street Journal, 17 March 2016.

 

 Addendum of Spanish Debt:    "Bank of Spain figures show that the country's public debt is now worth more than the value of the economy. The bank said Wednesday that Spain's public debt stockpile stood at 1.09 trillion euros ($1.23 trillion) in the first quarter of the year. That represents 101 percent of the country's annual GDP — 1.08 trillion euros — in 2015. The government estimates the debt ratio will be 99.1 percent of GDP at the end of 2016." In "Spain's debt now worth more than value of the economy," CNBC, 18 May 2016.

 

 Addendum of Communist China:   "In the past year alone, China has spent nearly $200 billion to prop up the stockmarket; $65 billion of bank loans have gone bad; financial frauds have cost investors at least $20 billion; and $600 billion of capital has left the country. To help pump up growth, officials have inflated a property bubble. Debt is still expanding twice as fast as the economy. At the same time, as our special report this week shows, the government’s grip on finance is slipping. Despite repeated efforts to restrain them, loosely regulated forms of lending are growing quickly: such 'shadow assets' have increased by more than 30% annually over the past three years. In theory, shadow banks diversify sources of credit and spread risk away from the regular banks. In practice, the lines between the shadow and formal banking systems are badly blurred." In "The coming debt bust," Economist, 7 May 2016.

 

 Addendum of the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico Too:   "The Caribbean island, Puerto Rico’s closest American neighbor, has a sliver of the population -- about 104,300 -- and a fraction of the debt, with $2.4 billion across all issuers. But divvied up, that’s $23,000 of obligations per person, even more than Puerto Rico’s $20,000. The two Caribbean territories with a shared culture also have similar fiscal strains: declining populations, underfunded pensions, histories of borrowing to cover budget shortfalls and unemployment rates that are twice as high as the U.S. mainland;s. 'It's the same template: Over a period of years, you keep issuing debt to cover your operating deficits, your economy isn’t growing, your population isn't growing, but your liabilities keep growing,' said David Ashley, an associate portfolio manager at Thornburg Investment Management, which holds $11.5 billion in municipal bonds. 'Just by virtue of math, your per-capita debt just continues to rise, probably to an unsustainable level at a certain point'." In "More in Debt Than Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands Rejects Rescue," by Brian Chappatta, Bloomberg, 31 May 2016.

 

Addendum of the USA USA Debt Time-bomb:   "Nobel economics laureate Paul Krugman once made the stupid argument that 'debt doesn’t matter.' Dick Cheney back during the 2002 Washington budget debates over the wisdom of making new tax cuts amid huge costs to finance the new Washington War on Terror, made the equally stupid comment, 'Reagan proved that deficits don’t matter.' In the real world, where debts of private households, of governments like Greece or Portugal or Detroit City, or private corporations like Chesapeake Energy or General Motors, effect jobs, technology, entire communities or nations, debt certainly does matter." In "The USA Debt Time-bomb Tocking, Ticking, Tock, Tick…," by F. William Engdahl, New Eastern Outlook, 28 July 2016.   [ 9 ]

 

See:  Doses of Delusion

 

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]    One reads the foolish title that "Debt is Good" from a "noted" economic journalist. One might consider more fully the notion of Debt - you bet! .  One finds so many apologists for the political elite selling debt as the answer to debt, and yet....

          ...one might consider the source, as one reads of the one-percenter Krugman and his upper class privilege. Not particularly upper class, as one learns: "As of 2012, Krugman’s net worth is estimated to be around $2.5 million." In "About Paul Krugman," The Richest, n. d.

          That a multi-millionaire is a multi-millionaire is rationalized:  "One thing to keep in mind is that Krugman is most likely taking a salary cut by leaving Princeton for CUNY. We don’t know what Princeton paid Krugman, but we can ballpark it. The University of California is one of many public universities that provides information on how much it pays its employees, and a quick look reveals a number of faculty members who haven’t received Krugman’s accolades but who are being paid quite a bit more than CUNY offered to pay Krugman. Having followed the academic job market closely for some years now, I can tell you that even Berkeley, the crown jewel of California’s public university system, finds it difficult to match the salaries offered by schools like Princeton, with its $17 billion endowment. And then there are the bloated salaries public universities routinely offer athletic coaches. Far be it from me to suggest that Paul Krugman will do as much for CUNY as basketball coach John Calipari does for the University of Kentucky. But Calipari earned $5.4 million in 2012. Isn’t it possible that Krugman might be worth one-twenty-fourth as much as Calipari? Or maybe even a little bit more?" In "Paul Krugman Isn’t a Hypocrite, A $225,000 salary for the critic of inequality is more than fair." by Reihan Salam, Slate, 16 April 2014.

          Considering the "salary" mentioned above, and adding income from books and op-ed writing for the New York Times, it is assured Krugman's overal "salary" places him in a certain economic class. After all some pigs are more equal than others, suggested Orwell in his masterful allegory.

          One would do well to consider the issue of Income Inequality . Of course, sports in academia as well as professional sports features multi-millionaires, as do those who so easily assist in awarding degrees on all sorts of social justice issues, as one learns through Doctor Oppression comes to call . Public celebrities and politicians manage wealth far above the median income of Americans, all the while decrying wealth too. Usually the wealthy decry those wealthier than them, for the word is relative.

          Yet of inequality and political protests one learns:  "These folks, many of whom work only blocks from where protesters are gathering in Zuccotti Park, made an average salary of just over $311,000 in 2009, according to the state Comptroller's Office. (This figure does not take into account certain income, losses and deductions that make up adjusted gross income.)" In "Who are the one percent?" by Fareed Zakaria, CNN, 20 October 2011.

          So the question stands. Is debt good? So suggests a millionaire writing in a newspaper owned by multi-millionaires and billionaires. But for whom is debt good? Is debt good for Sam? - the Debtor Man.

          See the rhyme and following footnotes for some additional interesting facts about Paul Krugman and how Wealth defends the poor? Oh sure!

          While a wealthy Krugman writes that "debt is good" with a "maybe" dulling his "reasonable" argument, one finds the federal government's Congressional Budget Office disagreeing that debt is good. One reads: " 'The growth in debt is not sustainable,' CBO Director Keith Hall said in presenting the estimates. 'At some point, it’s going to get to a very high level. Obviously, you can’t predict tipping points, but at some point this becomes a problem'." In "CBO report forecasts unsustainable debt in long term," by Stephen Dinan, Washington Times, 25 August 2015.

          Referencing Krugman's article cited above, "And how much is sufficient? Maybe more than we currently have."

          One can consider "debt is good" in the case of A Government of Shame - a composer's view.

          Or one might consider "debt is good" from the perspective of nations Freshly out of options .

          Perhaps one should consider "debt is good" from the convoluted story of a municipal bankruptcy and how its many citizens Voted  - not sugarcoated.

          Then again, one would see through much economic snake oil by considering Growth in debt - a non-sequitur.

 

[ 2 ]     Chanos, unlike Krugman, observed years back:  " 'Bubbles are best identified by credit excesses, not valuation excesses,' he said in a recent appearance on CNBC." What is credit? A lender extends credit to a borrower, and the borrower then is indebted by accepting the debt which results from the exchange. Credit, from the lender, becomes debt for the borrower.

          As to the citations, both from the New York Times, one finds one in an op-ed piece by a columnist and the other by a reporter. All that remains is to identify whether or not "debt is good."  One notes of the op-ed piece that there are wiggle words, as one re-reads, "And how much is sufficient? Maybe more than we currently have." Maybe yes, and maybe no.

          This is followed by "I know that may sound crazy." Maybe, yes. After all, much economic and political prose features that non-clarity of Could and May - an up-to-date play.

          With ideas as with assets and with debts, buyer beware. Perhaps, lender beware is also advised.

          A revisit to Economics 101 is instructive.

 

[ 3 ]     That debt can be "good" in the parlance of a Krugman who so easily writes modal words like "maybe," and at the same time "debt is future consumption denied" are incompatible notions. While Krugman's wiggle words are found in his article, his title is unequivocal. Debt is good.

          Mauldin writes, "Governments have outright defaulted on their debt nearly 300 times in the past few hundred years. Spain is the all-time winner, with six defaults in the last 140 years and 12 if you go back to 1550. Italy and Argentina have made a sport of defaulting this last century, if you count monetization as a form of default, which it is. While I can find no statistics, inflation and loose monetary policies have almost surely destroyed far more buying power than outright defaults have. There are times when a government simply cannot pay its bills and must either default outright or change the terms on its debt, just as individuals do."

          One might then meld the Krugman article title with the Mauldin title, and then one might learn that "debt is good" because "excess debt is like a black hole, sucking in all the life around it." Thus debt is good, as it crushes economic vitality, as the availability of short term, old fashioned schemes [ see directly below ] function to facilitate "opportunities for graft." If this sounds like the logical conclusion, then Krugman's "reasonable" argument serves one class of people -- those in government and related to government who can avail themselves of "old-fashioned" opportunities followed by "monetization as a form of default."

          While considering titles and opinions for NYTimes op-ed pieces, one might add into the mix:  "The time has come to 'view ignorance as 'regular' rather than deviant,' the sociologists Matthias Gross and Linsey McGoey have boldly argued." In "The Case for Teaching Ignorance," by Jamie Holmes, 24 August 2015.

          It seems ignorance is indeed "regular" and some stories are and have always been "to good to be true."

 

[ 4 ]  Perhaps the IMF did not read Krugman's opinion piece. The warning is repeated, only days later:  "Governments and central banks risk tipping the world into a fresh financial crisis, the International Monetary Fund has warned, as it called time on a corporate debt binge in the developing world. Emerging market companies have 'over-borrowed' by $3 trillion in the last decade, reflecting a quadrupling of private sector debt between 2004 and 2014, found the IMF's Global Financial Stability Report. In "$3 trillion corporate credit crunch looms as debtors face day of reckoning, says IMF," by Mehreen Khan, Telegraph UK, 7 October 2015. 

          But then again, perhaps Krugman did not read the IMF report. "I know that may sound crazy...."

 

[ 5 ]    One only need recall the words from the Communist Manifesto of 1848:  "Centralisation of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly. " In "Chapter II. Proletarians and Communists."

          Many serious socialist thinkers of the early 20th century saw a distinct difference between society and the state, preferring society to the state. These thinkers were targeted as enemies of various governments, for the obvious reason that a government is the state and not society. What central banks' quantitative easing and the creation of massive "supposedly public" debts is in fact "too good to be true." Schiff states openly this is creeping Communism, and, reading Marx' own words, it is.

 

[ 6 ]    If -- as Krugman writes -- debt is good, then should not the 300 percent of GDP be even better than many Western nations' 60 to 120 percent of debt? Or Japan's 250 percent of GDP ratio? It seems not. But it adheres to the Marxist dictum that "in the hands of the state" all should be well. Until it is not, of course, when the phrase pops out that "it's too good to be true."

 

[ 7 ]   The "too good to be true" is a phrase of ringing accuracy. As one "runs the numbers" on debt-laden governments around the world, the notion that a social welfare state -- inspired by the myths of socialist theory -- can generate economic growth in of itself is proven repeatedly fallacious. Coupled to generational demographic realities and the basic question of "who repays," the answer becomes obvious. An argument such as "rich" Krugman proposes serves him in the moment, but does not serve the interests of the coming generations who will have to deal with "uncontrollable" debt. Of course, economists like Krugman and the other "1%" elite of the world's nations will not busy themselves with repayment. That is for the little people -- serfs, essentially.

          But what does it mean  "defuse" a "debt time bomb?" One comes to the obvious conclusion: a government must take on no more debt and begin to pay down existing debt. There is no conundrum in the numbers, but a great problem for the political speech which pretends linguistic turns of phrases overrule basic arithmetic. I know that sounds crazy to a Krugman, but....

 

 

 

[ 8 ]    For whom is such a reality "too good to be true?" For those lenders of mortgage and auto loans receiving interest on their investments, of course, and most of it collateralized, unlike so-called "public" debt.

 

[ 9 ]    Engdahl observes the similarity between central banks' debt policies and Ponzi schemes.  "The Federal Reserve, along with the European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan have reverted over the past two years to the unprecedented and ludicrous policy of zero interest rates to keep their financial Ponzi bubble inflating, not bursting. The ECB and Bank of Japan recently have actually gone to negative interest rates meaning banks y the ECB or BOJ to place reserves in the central bank. The Fed is considering such a negative rate policy shift. Today it has been calculated that more than $13 trillion worth of government bonds globally now have negative rates. That’s more than one-third of all government bonds. That means someone buying those bonds and holding until it matures, will actually lose money."

          The comparison to a Ponzi scheme is apt, because the end of the story is known in both cases of public debt -- which has historically collapsed with governments abrogating debt -- and Ponzi schemes -- which collapse under their own weight as well, and additionally are illegal. Consider that governments through their central banks are officially The counters of coin .


 

Old-fashioned

"At the core of the scandal is an old-fashioned kickback scheme." In "Petrobras Oil Scandal Leaves Brazilians Lamenting a Lost Dream", by David Segal, New York Times, 7 August 2015.
 

Old-fashioned speaks; -- that nostalgic word
            conjures up the criminally absurd.
Old-fashioned lies at the core of things
            and its old-fashioned tune is what it sings.
Old-fashioned acts on this well-worn stage,
            in traditional roles of each, every age.
Old-fashioned habits, when thought passé
            live loud and large in this very day.
Old-fashioned seem to be of yesteryear,
            but customs dying hard all reappear.
Old-fashioned speaks; -- remembrance spurned
            as the forgotten must be relearned.

 

Addendum of the Partido dos Trabalhadores: "Starting in 2004, according to prosecutors, a small number of top Petrobras officials colluded with a cartel of companies to overcharge the oil company for construction and service work. The cartel would decide which of its member companies would win a contract to, for instance, service an oil rig or build part of a refinery. This fake competition was overseen by Petrobras confederates, who were rewarded with bribes. They kept some of the money but shared much of it with political figures. (The company, while publicly traded, is 51 percent government-owned, and more than a few Petrobras executives owe their jobs to elected officials.) What has stunned Brazilians isn’t the novelty of this fraud but its epic scale. The first of many national gasps was emitted in December when a former Petrobras employee named Pedro Barusco pledged to give back every cent of his ill-gotten gains — all $100 million. It was just the beginning. Mr. Barusco told authorities in February that the ruling Workers Party had pocketed up to $200 million over the years, money that was supposedly used to finance political campaigns." In "Petrobras Oil Scandal Leaves Brazilians Lamenting a Lost Dream", by David Segal, New York Times, 7 August 2015.  [ 1 ]

 

Addendum of Old-fashioned Persistence:    "The Mensalao scandal, involving monthly bribe payments to members of parliament of the ruling Workers' Party PT, makes an appearance at every election. Current allegations that semi-governmental oil company Petrobras made payments to politicians have also provided President Dilma Rousseff's opposition with ideal fodder for the media. The fight against corruption has consequently become a topic of national discussion. In June 2013, Brazilians made their displeasure known and took to the streets. Among other things, the mass protests led to the tightening of legislative power in the Brazilian parliament and corruption being graded as a capital offense." In "The persistence of corruption in Brazilian politics," Deutsche Welle, 5 October 2014.

 

Addendum of Old-fashioned Convictions:   "...a judge in the southern state of Parana ordered the arrest of Jose Dirceu, one of the founders of the governing Workers Party. He served as chief of staff during the government of former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva between 2003 and 2005." In "Brazil businessmen sentenced to 16 years over Petrobras scandal," BBC, 6 August 2015.   [ 2 ]

 

Addendum of the Center-Left Workers Party:  "The Workers' Party (Portuguese: Partido dos Trabalhadores, PT) is a center-left political party in Brazil. Launched in 1980, it is one of the largest and most important left-wing movements of Latin America." In Workers' Party (Brazil), Wikipedia, n. d.   [ 3 ]

 

Addendum of Old-fashioned Lying to the Citizens:    "In a unanimous vote, the Federal Accounts Court, known as the TCU, ruled that Rousseff’s government manipulated its accounts in 2014 to disguise a widening fiscal deficit as she campaigned for re-election." In "Brazil's Rousseff loses legal battle, faces impeachment threat," Agence France Presse, 8 October 2015.

 

Addendum of the Rich United Socialists of Venezuela:    "Venezuela put billions of public funds into secret Swiss bank accounts, according to data released Monday by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and leaked by an HSBC whistleblower. According to the data, Venezuela had $14.8 billion in HSBC accounts in Switzerland between 1998-2007. That was more than any other country except Switzerland ($31.2 billion) and the United Kingdom ($21.7 billion). The vast majority of the funds appear to be linked to Venezuela’s Treasury Office, which became an HSBC client in 2005. The office held as much as $11.9 billion in the account at one point, according to the ICIJ and reporters who had access to the data. By 2006-2007, however, the office held three accounts with $698 million." In "HSBC leak shows Venezuela among top clients in secret Swiss bank accounts," by Jim Wyss, Miami Herald, 9 February 2015.   [ 4 ]

 

Addendum of Sufficient Opportunities:   "Why is there so much support for government controls? What’s wrong with markets? In short: insufficient opportunities for graft." In "Fast moving bad news builds prosperity," by Glenn Harlan Reynolds, USA Today, 16 August 2015.   [ 5 ]

 

Addendum of Goldman Opportunities in Malaysia:   "...tens of thousands of demonstrators poured into the streets of Kuala Lumpur on Saturday to call for the resignation of Prime Minister Najib Razak whose government has been accused of obstructing an investigation into how some $700 million from 1Malaysia Development Berhad mysteriously ended up in Najib’s personal bank account. 1MDB was set up by Najib six years ago and has been the subject of intense scrutiny for borrowing $11 billion to fund questionable acquisitions. $6.5 billion of that debt came from three bond deals underwritten by Goldman, whose Southeast Asia chairman Tim Leissner is married to hip hop mogul Russell Simmons’ ex-wife Kimora Lee who, in turn, is good friends with Najib’s controversial wife Rosmah Manso." In "Mass Protests Sweep Malaysian Capital As Anger At Goldman-Backed Slush Fund Boils Over," by Tyler Durden, Zero Hedge, 29 August 2015.   [ 6 ]

 

Addendum of Old-Fashioned Puerto Rico:   "The U.S. Attorney's Office filed a 25 count indictment in the case, which will be heard in U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico. The charges include conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery and honest services wire fraud, wire fraud, extortion through fear of economic harm, money laundering, false declarations before a grand jury, and obstruction of justice. According to a press statement from the United States Attorney's Office for Puerto Rico, Anaudi Hernández Pérez, who is charge of campaign finances for the Popular Democratic Party, was at the heart of several government corruption schemes. García Padilla and the majority of members of the Puerto Rico Senate and House of Representatives are members of the same party." In "FBI Arrests 10 in Puerto Rico Corruption Case," by Robert Slavin, Bond Buer, 3 December 2015.   [ 7 ]

 

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]  "The PT [ Partido dos Trabalhadores ] was never going to really represent the masses’ revolutionary communist interests--mass reformist parties are too bureaucratic and the class struggle too explosive for that. What was needed inside the PT was for revolutionaries to clearly explain that the leadership represented the class enemy and to mobilize the most class-conscious workers against the PT leadership—to prove that the party could not be reformed and thus break as many workers as possible from the PT in order to build a vanguard revolutionary party." In "Brazil: Workers’ Party Betrays Workers," originally published in Proletarian Revolution No. 70 (Spring2004). Marxists.org.

          So say the Marxists, but as one watches across the world, the top Communists in China become billionaires, while one self-described Marxist-Leninist has led a failing state for decades, testifying to Socialism's Last Hurrah - not democracy in any town,  and proof mounts up that Socialists love money .

          Naturally, this sort of failure is the fault of capitalism. One reads further from the Marxists' article:  "The struggle against the pension reform and the continuing struggles of landless workers are only an indication of the struggles that lie ahead. The PT’s further attacks on the workers, urban poor and peasants will demand a massive fight back. The key to its success will be whether revolutionary-minded workers succeed in building a genuine vanguard revolutionary communist party leadership capable of breaking the working class from the PT leaders onto the road of the struggle to overthrow capitalism. The deepening crisis of capitalism means that there is no time to waste."

          In spite of the rhetoric and undocumented political theory, one sees clearly the fact of Capital for Communists  - a story growing old.

         As to the NYTimes article's details, one notes:  "To date, 117 indictments have been issued, five politicians have been arrested, and criminal cases have been brought against 13 companies. Petrobras officials have pegged the total of all bribes at nearly $3 billion, a figure that makes the scandal at FIFA, world soccer’s governing body, seem like the work of amateurs."

          It seems the "deepening crisis of capitalism" is in fact proven to be "socialism" -- corrupt, populist politics portraying itself as representing the "people" as expressed in another "workers' party." The article writes of "fake competition" which is the opposite of capitalism.

          But the PT has governed Brazil into a slow-motion collapse. One reads:  "...Ms Rousseff and her left-wing Workers’ Party (PT) have made a bad situation much worse. During her first term, in 2011-14, she spent extravagantly and unwisely on higher pensions and unproductive tax breaks for favoured industries. The fiscal deficit swelled from 2% of GDP in 2010 to 10% in 2015. Brazil’s crisis managers do not have the luxury of waiting for better times to begin reform (see article). At 70% of GDP, public debt is worryingly large for a middle-income country and rising fast. Because of high interest rates, the cost of servicing it is a crushing 7% of GDP. The Central Bank cannot easily use monetary policy to fight inflation, currently 10.5%, as higher rates risk destabilising the public finances even more by adding to the interest bill. Brazil therefore has little choice but to raise taxes and cut spending." In "Brazil's fall," Economist, 2 January 2016.

         Given this statement from 2016 -- "At 70% of GDP, public debt is worryingly large for a middle-income country and rising fast" -- one may now again consider the utterly fallacious remarks of a New York Times pundit who said "debt is good," as is cited above in It's too good to be true - this applies to you. One notes the US is carrying more than a public debt of 70% of GDP, something The Economist finds alarming in Brazil. One might want to connect the dots .

 

[ 2 ]    The new law began, seemingly "toothless," according to some reports, and now is being applied step by step.

          One reads: "The move by a special anticorruption unit of the Public Ministry, a body of independent prosecutors, advances a preliminary inquiry into whether Mr. da Silva, 69, used his influence on behalf of the construction giant Odebrecht, which relies heavily on financing from Brazil’s large national development bank, for contracts in Latin America and Africa. The expansion of the investigation increases pressure on both Mr. da Silva, one of Brazil’s most influential politicians, and his protégée and successor, Dilma Rousseff, who is facing calls of impeachment over a scandal in which former executives at the national oil company, Petrobras, said they had accepted huge bribes for themselves and for leading figures in the governing coalition." In "Brazil Adds to Tally of Corruption Scandals With Investigation of a Former President," by Simon Romero, New York Times, 16 July 2015.

 

[ 3 ]     A "workers' party" is center left, so is it said. Mostly.

          One finds the Wikipedia contributors' suggesting a "workers' party" label is right and left. One reads:  "Workers' Party is a name used by a number of political parties throughout the world. While the name has been used by both left-wing and right-wing organizations, it is currently used by left-wing followers of Communism, Maoism, Marxism, Marxism-Leninism, Social Democracy, Socialism and Trotskyism." In "Workers' Party," Wikipedia, n .d.

          Missing from this list of ideologies is National Socialism, which has become labeled as "right-wing."  Consider: We might have called ourselves the Liberal Party .  When monikers seem to tell a tale, most often they obfuscate, as might one read that Left is Right, as Right is Left .

          Other Workers' Party politics is found around the world. A survey might be instructional in grasping the term "center left" which was used to describe a massively corrupt Brazilian "workers' party," of which even the Marxists above was aware.

          In the article to support the left-right model, the Workers' Party of Social Justice in the Czech Republic is noted as an adherent to "National Socialism."

          Under the identified political orientation of Trotskyist, one finds the Workers' Parties of Algeria, Argentina, France, Sweden and Uruguay as well as the Workers Revolutionary Party of Britain. Identified as Communist are the Workers' Parties of Ecuador, India's West Bengal, and Spain. Identified as Maoist are the Workers' Parties of Bangladesh and Turkey. As Marxist, the Workers' Parties of Barbados, Belgium, Finland, Ireland, New Zealand and the United States. As Social Democrat parties, the Workers Democratic Party of Egypt and Workers' Party of Singapore.

          The early Workers Party of America of the United States became the Communist Party USA in 1929. A differently-named United States Workers' Party of the United States dissolved into the Socialist Party of America in 1936.

          Given the "massive" bribes amounting to billions and sweeping up Brazil's Workers' Party politicians and crony, partially state-owned businesses, one may reflect that the utopian promises of "workers' parties" often develop an elite, a class which was predicted by Marx' notion of a necessary "dictatorship of the proletariat," as a pathway to some further social development which could somehow then do away with such an elite it helped to create. Oddly, so many "people's" and "workers'" parties end up with an elite, economically as well as in terms of temporal power. How regressive is such easy and old-fashioned corruption.

          In such a "center-left" world it only becomes prudent to Bring presents to the party .

          But the party is over now. One reads:  "Brazil’s currency has plummeted to an all-time low and borrowing costs have tightened viciously after Standard & Poor’s slashed the country’s debt to junk status, warning that the budget deficit has reached danger levels." In "Brazil reduced to junk as BRICs facade crumbles," by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph UK, 10 September 2015.

          One notes the phrase, "budget deficit has reached danger levels." And yet above one is told that "debt is good," a view which should make one think, It's too good to be true - this applies to you.

          The political response from Brazil current corruption-tinged leadership is -- well -- political.One reads: "Mrs Rousseff said Brazil would 'pay all its bills and meet all its obligations'. Yet it is unclear how long she can last as momentum builds for impeachment over her role in the Petrobras corruption scandal. Signatures were accumulating at 30,000 an hour on the pro-impeachment website on Thursday. 'People are sick of this government, which has yet to offer any way out of the crisis. It is utterly incapable of governing,' said opposition leader Mendoca Filho."

          What a similar phenomenon to the more advanced crisis in Venezuela, where its "opposition leader" has been convicted by the socialist government, corrupt and also "utterly incapable of governing." One finds the "old-fashioned" scheme being run throughout the world today, and unsurprisingly failing. If Brazil's debt at less than 80% of GDP is causing a "crumbling facade," one might turn attention also to Sam?   - the Debtor Man, and debt of over 100 percent of GDP. The old-fashioned scheme?

 

[ 4 ]    The notion that socialism results in economic parity for all is given lie.

          A trail of old-fashioned corruption leads back to the elite socialists of Venezuela, as it has in so many other governments.

          One recalls the populist promise so easily betrayed. Of Hugo Chávez' and his United Socialist Party of Venezuela , one reads: "In January 2005, he began openly proclaiming the ideology of "Socialism of the 21st Century", something that was distinct from his earlier forms of Bolivarianism, which had been social democratic in nature, merging elements of capitalism and socialism. He used this new term to contrast the democratic socialism, which he wanted to promote in Latin America from the Marxist-Leninist socialism that had been spread by socialist states like the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China during the 20th century, arguing that the latter had not been truly democratic, suffering from a lack of participatory democracy and an excessively authoritarian governmental structure." In "Hugo Chávez," Wikipedia article, n. d.

          In January of 2005 was a time for "Socialism of the 21st century, and in that same year according to the article cited above, "The vast majority of the funds appear to be linked to Venezuela’s Treasury Office, which became an HSBC client in 2005. The office held as much as $11.9 billion in the account at one point, according to the ICIJ and reporters who had access to the data. By 2006-2007, however, the office held three accounts with $698 million."

          Demonstrably then "Socialism of the 21st century" included secret Swiss bank accounts measured in millions and billions. And of the United Socialists of Venezuela, one follows the trail of wealth drawn away from the people of Venezuela for that elite cadre of socialists:  "Alejandro Andrade, who served as Venezuela’s treasury minister from 2007 to 2010 and was reportedly a close associate of Chavez, was discovered to have $11.2 billion in his name sitting in HSBC accounts in Switzerland, according to documents leaked by whistleblower Hervé Falciani." In "Being the ex-President's daughter pays off: Hugo Chavez's ambassador daughter is Venezuela's richest woman," by Pete D'Amato, Daily Mail, 10 August 2915.

          That the family and friends of Chávez seem to have become enormously wealthy through this supposedly new "Socialism of the 21st century" testifies to the fact that their "new" scheme is in fact old-fashioned. Corruption of a socialist elite is quite like the corruption of a Communist elite and, basically, any political elite.

          It was reported:  "...the late-president's family owns 17 country estates, totalling more than 100,000 acres, in addition to liquid assets of $550 million (£360 million) stored in various international bank accounts, according to Venezuelan news website Noticias Centro. While ordinary Venezuelans suffer growing food shortages and 23 per cent inflation, the Chavez family trades in US dollars that now fetch four times the official bank rate on the black market. Living in numerous mansions in Alto Barinas, the city's most affluent district, the family and their children live a life of privilege, says Mr Azuaje, whose wife left him to marry into wealth and now lives next to the Chavez mansions." In "Venezuela: the wealth of Chavez family exposed," by Alasdair Baverstock, Barinas and Peter Foster, Telegraph, 14 April 2013.

          The story of such corruption continues to be further exposed. One reads:  "According to the Miami-based Diario Las América, Venezuelan media sources will soon publish materials showing that María Gabriela Chávez has bank accounts in the U.S. and Andorra with assets totaling nearly $4.2 billion. If the claim is true, Chávez’s daughter would be the richest person in Venezuela, a country with industrialists like telecommunications magnate Gustavo Cisneros (worth $3.6 billion, according to Forbes) and food and beverage mogul Lorenzo Mendoza ($2.7 billion)." In "Hugo Chávez daughter is the richest individual in Venezuela, report claims," FOX News Latino, 10 August 2015.

          This it what 21st century socialism looks like. Old-fashioned wealth for the few, and old-fashioned poverty for the many, all accomplished through appealing and emotional populist rhetoric, the empty theater of democratic procedures with corruption and deep deceit behind the scenes.

          The result is that socialism has yet again undergirded the same as it has in other nations: a privileged elite arrayed against the citizenry. Of the nation, one reads further:  "... it has introduced a system of rationing, limiting shoppers to two days per week at government-controlled stores. As Bloomberg cynically put it, 'Venezuela reduces lines by trimming shoppers, not shortages'. President Maduro returned empty-handed from his recent whirlwind global tour: China didn’t want to lend him any money, and oil producers didn’t want to cut production. However, he does seem to have swung some sort of financing deal with Qatar to soften the balance of payments problem. But in his absence, his opponents seized the opportunity to liven things up. Claiming that the country was 'in a state of emergency', the opposition leader Henrique Capriles called for people to 'mobilize in the streets'. It is all too easy to see where this is headed." In "The Impending Collapse Of Venezuela," by Frances Coppola, Forbes, 14 January 2015.

          Further:  "Such is the speed of Venezuela’s downward slide that policy analysts, Western diplomats, economists and opposition activists interviewed by The Telegraph this week all admitted that no one knows where, or when, it will end. " In "Venezuela's 'socialist paradise' turns into a nightmare: medical shortages claim lives as oil price collapses," by Peter Foster, Telegraph UK, 3 February 2015.

          In only months:  "What started as an effort to alleviate poverty -- the most worthy of goals in a poor country -- turned into a failed experiment in populist-infused socialism. The government expropriated businesses, tried to control prices and markets, and generally disrupted the mechanisms of supply and demand to the point where producing anything became unprofitable." In "Venezuela's disastrous course," by Frida Ghitis, CNN, 10 August 2015.

          Thankfully for the few privileged socialists atop the scheme, billions have been siphoned off and deposited in other nations, the hallmark of such a "democratic" socialist system.

          As to "Venezuela's disastrous course," after an election in which the opposition gained massively through elections, one reads an interesting response:  "Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is using special decree powers to declare an economic emergency in the oil-dependent nation. The decree giving Maduro 60 days to enact sweeping reform was published Friday in the official gazette just hours before the president is expected to deliver his annual state of the union address. Expectations for the speech are running high because Maduro for the first time in 17 years of socialist rule will be delivering it to a congress controlled by his opponents." In "Venezuela’s Maduro declares economic emergency," by Associated Press, 15 January 2016.

          In "17 years of socialist rule, " there is an economic emergency. Of course it is other economic and political forces, and never socialism which "rules" nations into poverty and collapse.

          Consider the resonant appeal of an assertion made by socialists which I ask as a question:  Jesus was a socialist? .

 

[ 5 ]  The argument that government "control" leads to sufficiency in graft is apt.  The article states:  "Nassim Nicholas Taleb recently tweeted: 'The free-market system lets you notice the flaws and hides its benefits. All other systems hide the flaws and show the benefits.' This drew a response: 'The most valuable property of the price mechanism is as a reliable mechanism for delivering bad news.' These two statements explain a lot about why socialist systems fail pretty much everywhere but get pretty good press, while capitalism has delivered a truly astounding results but is constantly besieged by detractors."

          The individual cited, Taleb, is Distinguished Professor of Risk Engineering at New York University's Polytechnic Institute. His main subject matter is 'decision making under opacity', that is, a map and a protocol on how we should live in a world we don't understand. If there is opacity enough in capitalism, there is significantly more under socialism, in its various "command" economies because corruption, as seen in the above examples, feeds the government elite. Opacity must then be great to allow this. When that opacity fails, with it the governments fail.

          Taleb notes:  "It has been more profitable for us to bind together in the wrong direction than to be alone in the right one. Those who have followed the assertive idiot rather than the introspective wise person have passed us some of their genes. This is apparent from a social pathology: psychopaths rally followers." Nassim Nicholas Taleb, The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable, Random House, 2007.

          And so populism's seductive political speech lures in and rallies followers, as the "assertive idiots" in so many failed and failing economies attained power with rarely to be met promises. One sees this in the examples of the Workers' Parties above, and especially in the corruption of the 21st century socialists of Venezuela.

          Yet Reynolds continues:  "Markets make people better off, but they don’t provide sufficient opportunities for politicians to extract bribes and intellectuals to feel better about themselves. This explains why they’re unpopular with politicians and intellectuals. The real question is why anyone else listens to the self-interested claims of politicians and intellectuals. Maybe because the subject of what works and what doesn't in economics is mostly written by journalists?"

          Thus when journalists stop reporting on graft among the governing elite, they fail, leaving "self-interested claims" of politicians and their pet intellectuals as their comparatively noisier message.

          Such is the nature of populism and such in the reality of The Privileges of Intellectuals who are rarely willing to announce they have been  publicly wrong, especially when they are demonstrably wrong. After all, how often do those pet intellectuals and their political masters and ideologies ever admit errors? The more usual behavior is to amplify them even if wrong on the facts, and then demand allegiance. Such is the nature of that "correctness" -- political correctness -- which is political in the exercise of its power, all so easily in service to the many, same-old "old-fashioned" schemes.

 

[ 6 ]    It's only money, and comparatively not as much as the Venezuelan socialist elite has managed to grasp. "The two-day protest brought onto the streets a political crisis triggered by reports of a mysterious transfer worth more than $600 million into an account under Najib's [Prime Minister's] name." In "Malaysia's Mahathir calls for 'people power' movement to topple PM," by Trinna Leong and Al-Zaquan Amer Hamzah, Reuters, 30 August 2015.

          Looking back one learns:   "Goldman Sachs Group Inc. made about $500 million arranging three bond sales in the past year for 1Malaysia Development Bhd., the state investment fund led by Prime Minister Najib Razak, said a person familiar with the matter. The total is almost as much as Malaysia, Southeast Asia’s third-largest economy, pays each month on its debt and compares with Goldman’s record $694 million of global bond underwriting fees in the first quarter, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Goldman, the securities firm with the fastest-growing investment-banking fees, arranged $6.5 billion of bond sales for the fund." In "Goldman Said to Earn $500 Million Arranging Malaysia Bond," by Elffie Chew and Ye Xie, Bloomberg, 9 May 2013.

          Further:  "Goldman helped 1MDB raise a total of $6.5 billion from three bond issues in 2012 and 2013. Even at the time, the deals were controversial because they were so lucrative for the bank. Goldman earned roughly $590 million in fees, commissions and expenses from underwriting the bonds, according to a person familiar with the situation – a massive 9.1 percent of the total raised. That was almost four times the typical rate for a quasi-sovereign bond at the time. It exceeds what Wall Street firms can charge in what has traditionally been their most lucrative work: taking companies public in the United States." In "A Goldman risk, by Una Galani, Breaking News, 6 August 2015.

          And now the Malaysians protesting in the streets want to know about "a mysterious transfer worth more than $600 million into an account under Najib's [Prime Minister's] name." The Prime Minister says it was a "donor," and wants the investigation stopped. Yup.

 

[ 7 ]     While old fashioned politician Corruption is so very common throughout history and until this moment, the simple truth is that corrupt politics has brought Puerto Rico to a debt crisis of enormous proportions.  One reads:  "Puerto Rico is in what the governor calls a 'death spiral' and 'humanitarian crisis.' The island has repeatedly warned that it will have to modify its debts (either by delaying payments or else trying to get creditors to accept less than they are owed). But any restructuring without Chapter 9 or some other federal process would be very complex because the island is not a state." In "Puerto Rico's debt crisis just got worse," by Heather Long, CNN, 28 January 2016. 

          One should link the statement by the Democratic governor with the "government corruption schemes." To posture that the debt crisis is a "humanitarian" issue is to divert attention from the issue being criminal, and likely over generations.

 


 

Little loyal lap dog

Little loyal lap dog
          loves the lap's confines.
          Loyal little yap dog
                    barks and loud opines.
Swaddled, modeled puppy,
          wrapped up, balls and bums,
          mollycoddled pup, he
                    whines for lap dogged crumbs.
In the big bad world of dogs
          the little lap dog loyal
          would never yap for a chance
                    to guard or hunt or toil.
Loyal little lap dog
          loves the comfy lap,
          and his doggy grub and grog
                    and the lap dog's doggone nap.


 

Wedding Shredding -- bedding, treading, sledding

"If there is no magic power in opposite sexes when it comes to marriage, is there any magic power in the number two?" In "Is Polygamy Next?" by William Baude, New York Times, 21 July 2015.   [ 1 ]

 

Is there any power
                                        in the magic number two?
Why not one? Or three?
                                        What's their bugaboo?
Why not tens and hundreds,
                                        as some old tales tell?
Why not things and animals?
                                        Words can go to hell.
Definitions forced and changed,
                                        enforced to slip the slope?
Words erode and wither;
                                        when pushed, the envelope
Bulges, buckles, bursts its bonds
                                        as meaning fades from view;
All twisting convolutions
                                        are sworn to be true
And certainly as everything
                                        means nothing much or more,
Why bother then to listen?
                                        The whole becomes a bore.
Active "ists" for this and that
                                        parade and puff some point,
But in the end their words turn limp;
                                        variants disappoint.
Something borrowed? Something blue?
                                        Magic now is turned askew.

Pandora's box is opened;

                                        the words mix, morph and mate.

Such is the end of a tale,

                                        with meaninglessness its fate.

 

Envoi of Meaninglessness:  "Before I knowed it, I was saying out loud, 'The hell with it! There ain't no sin and there ain't no virtue. There's just stuff  people do. It's all part of the same thing. And some of the things folks do is nice, and some ain't nice, but that's as far as any man got a right to say." John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath, 1939.

 

Addendum of the Magic Number One:   "A woman who vowed that she would marry herself if she didn’t find love by the time she turned 40, actually married herself earlier this month in a lavish ceremony here in Houston, according to reports. Yasmin Eleby married herself at the Houston Museum of African American Culture on January 3 in a lavish ceremony with10 bridesmaids in attendance, plus family and other guests on hand to celebrate the event." In "Houston woman marries herself in elaborate ceremony," by Craig Hlavaty, Houston Chronicle, 29 January 2015.

 

 Adding to the Addenda of the Magic Number One:    "It's not a legal process — you won’t get any tax breaks for marrying yourself. It’s more a 'rebuke' of tradition, says Rebecca Traister, author of All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation. 'For generations, if women wanted to have economic stability and a socially sanctioned sex life or children, there was enormous social and economic pressure to do that within marriage,' she says. 'Personally, as someone who lived for many years single and then did get married, I know that the kind of affirmation I got for getting married was unlike anything I’d ever had in any other part of my life.' That, she adds, is 'incredibly unjust'." In "Why I Married Myself," by Abigail Pesta, Cosmopolitan, 20 December 2016.

 

Adding to the Magic Number One, Again:   " If the secret to a happy marriage is finding the right person, we can all stop looking. At least, according to 'sologamists.' They're part of a growing relationship trend, in which people are tying the knot to themselves." In "People are marrying themselves, it's called 'sologamy'," WUSA-CBS News, 12 May 2017.

 

Addendum of a Same Sex Magic Number Two:   "The manifesto articulates a radical agenda for a non-violent revolution in cultural values and social institutions. It critiques homophobia, sexism, marriage, the nuclear family, monogamy, the cults of youth and beauty, patriarchy, the gay ghetto and rigid male and female gender roles. As well as opposing the way things are, it outlines an alternative vision, including living communally, gender-subversive radical drag and non-possessive multi-partner open relationships. The message was: innovate, don't assimilate. The manifesto's idealistic vision involved creating a new sexual democracy. Erotic shame and guilt would be banished. There would be sexual freedom and human rights for everyone – queer, bisexual and straight." In "How the Gay Liberation Front Manifesto helped to shape me," by Peter Tatchell, Guardian UK, 6 August 2013.

 

Addendum of the Instantaneous Slippery Slope:  "...includes the U.S. Supreme Court case of Obergefell v. Hodges [26 June 2015], in which the court upheld the fundamental right of same-sex couples to marry, and Kitchen v. Herbert, the case that brought same-sex marriage to Utah. Turley also cites a Supreme Court case that decriminalized all gay sex as sodomy, Lawrence V. Texas. 'From the rejection of morality legislation in Lawrence to the expansion of the protections of liberty interests in Obergefell, it is clear that states can no longer use criminal codes to coerce or punish those who choose to live in consensual but unpopular unions, Turley wrote in his answer to Utah's appeal. When U.S. District Court Judge Clark Waddoups overturned Utah's ban on polygamy in December 2013, same-sex marriage wasn't mentioned in the ruling." In "‘Sister Wives’ family points to same-sex marriage cases in arguing against Utah polygamy ban," by Nate Carlisle, Salt Lake Tribune, 26 August 2015.

 

 

 

Addendum of a Magic Number Three:   "A trio of gay men from Thailand got married on Valentine’s Day in Uthai Thani Province, Thailand, according to Caters News Agency. Joke, 29, Bell, 21, and Art, 26, are thought to be the world’s first gay threesome to get hitched. The happy 'throuple' have become Internet famous, as photos from the 'happiest day of their lives' quickly went viral and Thai media outlets shared their unusual love story." In "Meet the 'world’s first' gay married 'throuple'," by Fahima Haque, NYPost, 27 February 2015.

 

Addendum of Another Magic Number Three:   "The so-called 'throuple' worked with a specialist family lawyer who drew up the paperwork and drafted the ceremony so that all three of them were obligated and bound to each other. While Brynn and Kitten are legally married, Doll is handfasted to both so the threesome are as equally married to each other as legally possible." In "Here comes the bride. And another one. And another one! Meet world's first married lesbian THREESOME . . . and they're expecting a baby due in July," by Deni Kirkova, Daily Mail UK, 23 April 2014.

 

Addendum of Mormon Polygamy:   "Anne Wilde of Salt Lake City, co-founder of the polygamy advocacy group Principle Voices, said polygamous families have lived under the threat of arrest for decades and no longer have to worry about being charged with a felony. There are an estimated 38,000 fundamentalist Mormons who practice or believe in polygamy, most living in Utah and other Western states, said Wilde, who was a plural wife for 33 years until her husband died." In "'Sister Wives' family wins Utah polygamy lawsuit," by Martin Griffith, Associated Press, 15 December 2013.

 

Addendum of Same Sex Threesome:   "Three gay men say they have gained legal recognition as the first 'polyamorous family' in Colombia, where same-sex marriages were legalized last year." In "I do, I do and I do! Colombia's first THREE-man marriage between a 'polyamorous family' is legally recognised," by Kelly McLaughlin, Mail Online, 14 June 2017.

 

 

 

Addendum of Polyamory:   "For the uninitiated, polyamory (also known as ethical non-monogamy) is the current incarnation of a subculture whose roots extend from 19th-century utopian communes to 1960s 'free love,' 1970s 'swinging' lifestyles and open marriages and 1990s fetish communities. In contrast to swinging, however, polyamory emphasizes transparency and emotional commitment to all romantic and sexual partners, and partners in a 'poly' family may cohabit or raise children." In "Polyamory: Exploring the ins and outs of multiple partners," by Jeff Fraser, Globe and Mail, 21 September 2012.   [ 2 ]

 

Addendum of Bridge and Bride:   "Though the new couple's union is not legally recognized in France, Rose said it's just as strong as any other marriage. 'While I respect those whose romantic and sexual feelings are oriented towards objects, mine is a symbolic affair, a pagan / animist view of the spiritual vibration in everything,' she wrote on her blog, Bridgeland." In "Jodi Rose, Australian Artist, Marries 600-Year-Old French Bridge Le Pont du Diable," by Emily Thomas, Huffington Post, 3 July 2013.

 

 

 

Addendum of a Man and his Pillow:   "...he traveled to Japan to marry his beloved pillow with the help of an indulgent local priest. He even outfitted the pillow with its own custom wedding dress. It turns out, however, that the wedding was more of a publicity stunt, as Lee admitted to the press that he’s still unsure about going through with it. 'My love for Fate is unchangeable, but I will take more time to think about our marriage'." In "South Korean Lee Jin-gyu 'marries' pillow lover Fate Testarossa," Daily Telegraph, "16 March 2010.

 

Addendum of a Man and a Goat:   "A Sudanese man has been forced to take a goat as his 'wife', after he was caught having sex with the animal. The goat's owner, Mr Alifi, said he surprised the man with his goat and took him to a council of elders. They ordered the man, Mr Tombe, to pay a dowry of 15,000 Sudanese dinars ($50) to Mr Alifi." In "Sudan man forced to 'marry' goat," BBC, 24 February 2006.

 

Addendum in the Hundreds:    "And he [ Solomon ] had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart." 1 Kings 11:3.

 

 

 

Addendum of Hoarding Women:   "Polyamory seems less unidirectional and to exist in all kinds of variations, but when it comes to polygamous legal marriage, not so much. To give you an idea of how rare it is for a woman to round up a gaggle of willing grooms who will fawn all over her and provide her with round-the-clock stud service as a team, we can look at this cool research called the Ethnographic Atlas. It was published by George P. Murdock in 29 installments from 1962 to 1980. As of the last edition in 1980, there were 1,231 societies listed--past and contemporary--from all five inhabited continents. Murdock compiled all kinds of descriptive information on those societies, systematically coding and organizing multitudinous pieces of information for the purpose of comparative research. Polygamy was one of the areas Murdock documented. Maybe pour yourself a shot of whiskey as I lay some data on you. Of the 1,231 societies listed in the 1980 Ethnographic Atlas, 186 were monogamous; 453 had occasional polygyny; 588 had more frequent polygyny; and 4 had polyandry. FOUR! Shall we now discuss patriarchy? Let's! Plural marriage of the polygynous variety is patriarchy on crack. It is obviously associated with status and hierarchies..." In "Harem-seeking Men Use Legalization of Gay Marriage to Pursue Legal Right to Hoard Women," by Lori Day, Huffington Post, 14 July 2015.   [ 3 ]

 

Addendum of the Incestuous Wedding Plan:    "...until they're able to move to New Jersey where adult incest is legal, just not the father-daughter marriage. We discussed whether it was wrong and then we kissed ... then we made love for the first time. 'I don’t believe you need a piece of paper to prove that you want to be with the person you love,' she argued of her plans to go forward regardless of the legal filing." In "Great Lakes teen says she plans to marry father in New Jersey after recently reuniting, losing her virginity to him," by Nina Golgowski, NY Daily News, 19 January 2015.

 

 Addendum of the Incestuous Same Sex Wedding Shredding:   "The investigator says Patricia told her that she reunited with Misty two years ago and they 'hit it off.' The investigator says Patricia didn't think she was breaking any laws because her name was no longer listed on her daughter's birth certificate. Court documents say this is the second time Patricia Spann has married one of her children. She married one of her sons in 2008, but the marriage was annulled in March 2010." In "Duncan mom & daughter arrested for incestuous marriage," by Rhiannon Poolaw, ABC News, 7 September 2016.

 

Addendum of Wedding Under the Age:    "The father, who cannot be named to protect the girl's identity, was found guilty of procuring a child under the age of 14 for unlawful sexual activity and encouraging the pair to have intercourse despite denying the charges. Sydney's Downing centre district court heard that he wanted to save the girl from what he considered the sin of having sex outside marriage so when she reached puberty he decided she should wed. When a 26-year-old Lebanese man, in Australia on a student visa, showed interest in her the father consented to a marriage, which was carried out by a local sheikh last year at his home around 150 miles north of Sydney." In "Australian convicted for marrying off 12-year-old daughter," Agence France Presse, 1 April 2015.

 

 

 

Addendum of Islamic Wedding for Minutes:   "...the purpose of a temporary marriage is clear from its name in Arabic—mut'a, pleasure. A man and a woman may contract a mut'a for a finite period of time—from minutes to 99 years or more—and for a specific amount, mehr in Farsi, which the man owes the woman." In "Married for a Minute, Is Iran's mullah-backed system of temporary marriage a godsend for the sexually frustrated—or religious prostitution?" by Nadya Labi, Mother Jones, March/April 2010.    [ 4 ]

 

Addendum of the Slippery Slope Argument Observed:   "The leader of the Union of Islamic Communities in Italy has said there is 'no reason' for polygamy not to be legalised after the Italian government passed a law to recognise the union of same-sex civil unions. In a Facebook status, Hamza Piccardo wrote: 'There’s no reason for Italy not to accept polygamous marriages of consenting persons. When it comes to civil rights here, then polygamy is a civil right. Muslims don’t agree with homosexual partnership and still they have to accept a system that allows it,' he added." In "Islamic leader wants to legalise polygamy in Italy," Catholic Herald, 18 August 2016.

 

  

 

Addendum of Islamic Wedding for Rape:   "Mueller was held for a time by Islamic State financier Abu Sayyaf and his wife, known as Umm Sayyaf. Al-Baghdadi took Mueller as a 'wife,' repeatedly raping her when he visited, according to a Yazidi teenager who was held with Mueller and escaped in October 2014. The 14-year-old made her way to Iraqi Ku ds," by Ken Dilanian, Associated Press, 14 August 2015.    [ 5 ]S

 

Addendum of Naming It a Religious Offering:    "An elderly Afghan cleric has been arrested after he married a six-year-old girl, officials said on Friday, in the latest case highlighting the scourge of child marriages in the war-battered country. Mohammad Karim, said to be aged around 60, was held in central Ghor province as he claimed her parents gave him the girl as a 'religious offering', officials said. But they cited the family of the girl, believed to be in shock, as saying that she was abducted from western Herat province, bordering Iran." In "Arrested Afghan cleric defends marriage to six-year-old girl, saying she was a 'religious offering'," by Agence France-Presse, 30 July 2016.

 

 Addendum of Saudi Polygamy:   "Latest statistics have shown that in 2016 more than half a million Saudi men are reported to have more than one spouse at a time. A recent annual report on polygamy, a common practice in Saudi Arabia, has revealed that around 73000 men between the age of 25 to 49 engaged in polygamous relationships." In "Over half million Saudi men engaged in polygamy, report shows," Alarabiya.net, Riyadh, 25 October 2016.

 

 Addendum of Islamic Transgender Weddings:   "A group of clerics in Pakistan has declared marriage between transgender individuals permissible in Islam, saying they have a right to be buried in Muslim ceremonies, according to a copy of a religious edict Reuters obtained on Monday. Transgender people also have full rights under Islamic inheritance law, the Tanzeem Ittehad-i-Ummat Pakistan, a little-known clerical body in the eastern city of Lahore, said in its fatwa. 'It is permissible for a transgender person with male indications on his body to marry a transgender person with female indications on her body,' said the document, signed by 50 clerics and issued on Sunday." In "Pakistani clerics declare transgender marriages legal under Islamic law," by Mubasher Bukhari, Reuters, 27 June 2016.

 

 Addendum of the Real Dilemma:   "...many people think of 'marriage' as a religious rather than a legal term. If Christians suddenly started celebrating their birthdays as 'bar mitzvahs,' it would probably upset some Jews, who would see it as insulting. If atheists started wearing crucifixes to signify their atheism, it would surely perturb some Christians, who might see it as blasphemous. The real flash point about the word 'marriage' is that some people strongly associate the word with their religious understandings, and those understandings most definitely do not embrace same-sex relationships. Thus, even if they are willing, as good citizens, to grant gays and lesbians 'all the rights married people have,' they can't stand the thought of seeing a 'sacred' word, and concept, brutalized. This is a real dilemma." In "Same-Sex Marriage and the Meaning of Words," by  Geoffrey R. Stone, Huffington Post Blog, 25 April 2011.   [ 6 ]

 

Addendum of Wrong Datum:   "The real point of the matter is that what we call a 'wrong datum' is one which is inconsistent with all other known data. It is our only criterion for right and wrong." Isaac Asimov, "The Evitable Conflict" in "Robot Visions," Roc Books, 1990.   [ 7 ]

 

 

 

Addendum of Artificial Intelligence and Love:   "This slippery-slope argument has also been used to contend that the court’s decision will open the door to legal recognition of bestiality or incest. Robot-human marriages might be next on the list. Probably not soon, admittedly, but it nevertheless will be an inevitable part of our future. Indeed, some critics of same-sex marriage, including some conservative Christian opponents of gay marriage, have argued that the court’s recognition of same-sex marriage would inevitably lead to robotic-human marriages." In "A.I. Thee Wed, Humans should be able to marry robots," by Gary Marchant, Slate, 10 August 2015.   [ 8 ]

 

Addendum of a Stepford Spouse:   Wife... "This term is borrowed from the fictional suburb of Stepford, Connecticut in Ira Levin's 1972 novel, 'The Stepford Wives,' later made into movies (in 1975 and 2004). In the story, men of this seemingly ideal town have replaced their wives with attractive robotic dolls devoid of emotion or thought." In "Stepford Wife," by Rex Cavendish, Urban Dictionary, 13 July 2005.   [ 9 ]

 

Addendum of Soviet Summer Brides and Cheap Amusement:   "Other peasants took advantage of the loose divorce regulations to acquire 'summer brides.' As the hiring of labor in Russia is hedged about with difficulties and restrictions for the private employer, the richer peasants in some districts took to the practice of marrying a strong girl for the harvest season and divorcing her as soon as the work in the fields was over. The new sex relations have also raised certain problems in the cities. During the winter of 1924-1925 some of the older Communists accused the younger generation, especially the students, of indulging in too much dissipation, of squandering health and vitality in loose connections; they blame the girl students for practising frequent abortions. 'You must be either a student or a mother; under present-day conditions you can't be both,' declared one mentor to the modern Russian women students. The latter indignantly replied that love was almost the only cheap amusement left to them and demanded that they be given at least the same opportunity for free abortions that factory women enjoy. Moreover, they retorted that not all the older Communists could serve as a model of pure living." In "The Russian Effort to Abolish Marriage," by "A Woman Resident in Russia," The Atlantic, July 1926 Issue.

 

 

 

Addendum of the Abolition of Prostitution Both Public and Private:    "Bourgeois marriage is, in reality, a system of wives in common and thus, at the most, what the Communists might possibly be reproached with is that they desire to introduce, in substitution for a hypocritically concealed, an openly legalised community of women. For the rest, it is self-evident that the abolition of the present system of production must bring with it the abolition of the community of women springing from that system, i.e., of prostitution both public and private. " In Chapter II. "Proletarians and Communists," Manifesto of the Communist Party, Marx/Engels Selected Works, Vol. One, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1969.   [ 10 ]

 

 Addendum of the Bourgeois Marriage:   "The ideology of bourgeois marriage was first advanced by people with a powerful pro-female agenda, which was to humanize a dehumanizing relationship. 'The nineteenth-century cult of domesticity, so called, originated in a systematic attack on patriarchal authority, led by an international elite of doctors, philanthropists, and humanitarians,' Christopher Lasch wrote in Women and the Common Life: Love, Marriage, and Feminism. These reformers, most of them devout Christians, were incensed at the callousness of the aristocracy, which taught its daughters little more than fashion, flirtation, and the art of making socially advantageous marriages. It's hard to grasp how counterintuitive it once was to be in favor of the kind of monogamous, child-centered, middle-class marriage we take for granted today. Mary Wollstonecraft, the founding mother of feminism, was being quite radical when she argued against turning women into frilly twits on the grounds that it hurt the institution of marriage: Women, she said, were being conditioned to be "alluring mistresses rather than affectionate wives and rational mothers." In "Is Bourgeois Marriage Dead?" Culturebox, 6 March 2000.

 

Addendum of Contributing to the Socialist Anti-family tradition:   "Although Marx and Engels were not the instigators of the anti-family tradition among socialists, they -- especially Engels -- contributed mightily to it." In "Marx, Engels, and the Abolition of the Family," Peter Wiekart, History of European Ideas, Vol. 18, No. 5, 1994.   [ 11 ]

 

 Addendum of the Relics of Bourgeois Prejudice:  "...it is now pretty evident that the widespread circulation of revolutionary ideas on the desirability of abolishing the family has not by any means eliminated old-fashioned passions of love and jealousy. The police records are full of cases, some of them very terrible, of murders and assaults and suicides committed by women under the influence of jealousy. One such case may serve as an example. A peasant left his village wife and began to live with a working woman in the town. The village wife kept coming and making scenes before the second wife, until the latter, irritated beyond endurance, poured benzine over her rival, set her on fire, and burned her to death. Such elemental outbursts of jealousy are condemned by the Communists as 'relics of bourgeois prejudice'; but they continue to occur nevertheless, and even Communist women have been known to commit suicide because their husbands' attentions were diverted elsewhere." In "The Russian Effort to Abolish Marriage," by "A Woman Resident in Russia," The Atlantic, July 1926 Issue.   [ 12 ]

 

Addendum of a Sad Joke Like Unto the Above:   "The family group consisted of three adults and six adulteresses."  (Anon.)   [ 13 ]

 

Addendum of Wedding as a Punishment:   "In a bid to reign in fraternization between young men and women, authorities in the picturesque state of West Java in Indonesia have decided to impose an early curfew of 9pm. If any couple is caught dating after the curfew, they will be punished by being forced to marry each other. This unconventional law will be implemented from September 2." In "Indonesian state to punish dating teens with marriage for breaking curfew," by Web Desk, Express Tribune, 2 September 2015.

 

Supreme Addendum:   "The history of marriage is one of both continuity and change. Changes, such as the decline of arranged marriages and the abandonment of the law of coverture, have worked deep transformations in the structure of marriage, affecting aspects of marriage once viewed as essential. These new insights have strengthened, not weakened, the institution. Changed understandings of marriage are characteristic of a Nation where new dimensions of freedom become apparent to new generations." In "OBERGEFELL ET AL. v. HODGES, DIRECTOR, OHIO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, ET AL. CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT," No. 14–556.    [ 14 ]

 

 Addendum of Justice Kennedy's Undefined, Indefinable Conclusion:    "...this Court’s cases and the Nation’s traditions make clear that marriage is a keystone of the Nation’s social order."   [ 15 ]

 

 

 

Addendum of a Supreme Joke:   "A Tennessee judge said the Supreme Court's decision to legalize gay marriage nationwide has left him unable to determine what constitutes divorce. A Signal Mountain couple, Thomas and Pamela Bumgardner, are still legally married even though they don't want to be because of Hamilton County Chancellor Jeffrey Atherton's stance, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press. 'The conclusion reached by this Court is that Tennesseans have been deemed by the U.S. Supreme Court to be incompetent to define and address such keystone/central institutions such as marriage, and, thereby, at minimum, contested divorces,' Atherton wrote in his decision last week." In "Judge Won't Divorce Straight Couple Because Gay Marriage Is Legal," by Simon McCormack, Huffington Post, 3 September 2015.  [ 16 ]

 

Addendum of At Least Two Wives:   "By law, the men are now required to marry at least two wives, or face life imprisonment with hard labour. Similarly, women who attempt to prevent their husbands from exercising the law would spend the rest of their lives in jail. According to the document, which has been circulating over the internet, the government of Eritrea, which is currently facing a shortage of male population following the civil war with Ethiopia, is willing to cover the necessary wedding and accommodation expenses in a show of good faith towards fulfilling the set mission." In "Eritrea men to marry at least 2 wives or face imprisonment," Zambia National Broadcasting, 27 January 2016.

 

Addendum of Agree with Us or Else:   In " 'When I read Justice Kennedy’s decision, I wanted to embroider it on a pillow but wondered if it was a sound legal opinion,' openly gay conservative columnist Guy Benson said at the Conservative Political Action Conference. Benson spoke on a panel which, primarily, focused on the SCOTUS decision. 'This conversation could not be held at a left-wing conference,' he claimed, noting that the Left demands more unanimity of thought, and action, on this issue than does the Right. 'One of the most potent arguments that proponents of same sex marriage had was that it would not affect those who disagree with them but that argument went by the wayside when the political objective was achieved, when it became, 'agree with us or else,' ruining businesses, for example,' Benson said. 'I part company with that.' He calls it 'cultural cronyism'." In "Gay Marriage on the Rocks," by Malcolm A. Kline, Academia, 8 March 2016.   [ 17 ]

 

 Addendum of the Ecosexual Wedding:   "...a wedding was planned for noon. Lead by UC Santa Cruz professor Elizabeth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle, the effective leaders of the ecosexual movement, a group of a little under 30 people huddled in a circle, complete with matrimonial props and ocean-themed attire, and vowed to commit themselves to the ocean. Diego Marquez, SMC Ecosexual Club president was one of them. 'It was actually our second marriage so it was kind of like renewing my vows for me,' Marquez said. 'Most of our focus was on the Ecosextravaganza this time — this was more like a little unwinding of the work that we’ve been putting into that'." In "A romantic walk with the beach: Ecosexual Club marries the Pacific Ocean," by Grace Gardner, The Corsair (Santa Monica College), 23 May 2016.

 

 

 

 Addendum of the Direction of Null Marriages and Not-marriage Marriages:   "...what direction is that? This one: Pope Francis really—and I think, sincerely—believes: (A) most marriages (at least, most Christian marriages) really aren’t, deep-down, marriages (and so the annulment process has to be sped up to dispatch of what are, after all, probably null marriages anyway, and the consequences of post-divorce marriages need to be softened because most people in those second marriages probably weren’t in true marriages the first time, and so on); and, (B) lots of things that aren’t marriages (like cohabitation and civil-only weddings between Catholics) really are, deep-down, marriages (so we need to affirm them and assure them that they enjoy the same graces as married people, and so on). " In "Papal comments on cohabitation and civil marriage suggest a direction," by Edward Peters, JD, JCD, Ref. Sig. Ap., "In the Light of the Law, a Canon Lawyer's Blog," 18 June 2016.    [ 18 ]

 

 Addendum of a Wedding between the Living and the Dead:   "At a moving remembrance ceremony led by then president Hollande on April 25, Cardiles said the killer would 'not have my hatred', echoing the words of the husband of a victim of the November 2015 attacks in the French capital." In "Posthumous wedding for gay French policeman killed by jihadist on Champs-Elysées," by Evie Burrows-Taylor, TheLocal.fr, 31 May 2017.

 

 Addendum of the Argument Based on the Supreme Court's Logic and the Slippery Slope:   "Chris Sevier says that if same-sex couples are able to get married and demand that Christian bakers make them wedding cakes, then he should be allowed to marry his laptop and demand a cake to celebrate the union between one man and one machine. The self-identified 'machinist' says he married his laptop in a ceremony in New Mexico, and now he has sued to demand that a Colorado baker — who is already in court after refusing to bake for a same-sex marriage — must be compelled to make cakes for him and his computer 'bride.' He also has filed a lawsuit demanding that Utah recognize his man-object marriage. It’s the latest battlefront in an increasingly thorny area of law, after the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015 established a constitutional right to same-sex marriage." In "Man ‘marries’ his laptop, sues for state recognition and a wedding cake," by Alex Swoyer, Washington Times, 30 July 2017.

 

Addendum from Literature:   "All tragedies are finish'd by a death, / All comedies are ended by a marriage." In " Don Juan," Lord Byron (1788-1824)

 

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]   And one reads further:  "Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.’s dissent in Obergefell raised this very question, intending to show how radical the majority’s decision could become. But the issue was hard to discuss candidly while same-sex marriage was still pending, because both sides knew that association with plural marriage, a more unpopular cause, could have stymied progress for gay rights. (Opponents of same-sex marriage had reasons to emphasize the association, while supporters had reasons to play it down.) With same-sex marriage on the books, we can now ask whether polyamorous relationships should be next."

 

 Radical

 

          This proved immediately true:  "...in his dissent, Chief Justice John Roberts said that the legal argument used to justify same-sex marriage could be used by polygamist couples. Collier said that argument inspired him to apply. Collier met both of his wives in 1999. He married Victoria in 2000 and had a spiritual ceremony with Christine, he said. Collier now wants to legalize his marriage to both of them, he said." In "Montana man applies for polygamous marriage license," by Lori Grisham, USA Today, 2 July 2015.

 

[ 2 ]    In an odd twist of language, one finds "...some state officials and county clerks might decide there is little risk in issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples." In " A timeline of same-sex marriage in the US," Boston Globe, 3 July 2015. The twist is that now every self-identified "married" individual, trio or multiple who wants to be issued a marriage license has legal as well as cultural precedent. Pandora's box of wedding invitations is opened.

 

[ 3 ]    Note a feminist take on polygynous "patriarchy." If there is a right to marriage and if there is not magic in the number two, then do feminists have grounds to complain when "consenting adults, a man and women, " pursue their variant on marriage? The values and indeed arguable rights of different perspectives on marriage crash into each other, just as they did and continue to do on the issue of same-sex marriage for two. Then three. Then....

 

 No Romanticizing

 

          Yet one reads a different perspective by another feminist with experience:  "I call myself a feminist — but not just any feminist. My kind of feminism was forged in the fires of Afghanistan. There I received an education — an expensive, almost deadly one — but a valuable one, too. I understand firsthand how deep-seated the hatred of women is in that culture. I see how endemic indigenous barbarism and cruelty is and unlike many other intellectuals and feminists, I don’t try to romanticize or rationalize it. I got out, and I will never return." In "My life of hell in an Afghan harem," by Phyllis Chesler, NY Post, 21 September 2013.

 

[ 4 ]     One reads:  "Khola Hassan, a Sunni Muslim and spokesperson for the UK Islamic Sharia Council, says the practice is strictly not allowed. She says it is equal to prostitution because of the time limit applied to the union. 'I have never come across a Sunni scholar, throughout history, who declares mut'ah marriage to be halal,' said Mrs Hassan. 'There is no difference between mut'ah marriage and prostitution. There is a time limit on the marriage, and the mahr given as a gift [from the man to the woman] is the equivalent as a payment to a prostitute,' she added." In "I do... for now. UK Muslims revive temporary marriages," by Shabnam Mahmood and Catrin Nye, BBC, 13 May 2013.

 

 Polygamy Likely

 

          In another stream of Islamic thought in the UK, one finds:  "Although polygamy is permitted under sharia law, most Muslim men do not have two, three or four wives. In fact, according to 'The Salafi Feminist', a Canadian blogger, average Muslims view second wives 'as little more than secret mistresses, home-wreckers, and simply selfish'. However, the growing influence of Islam in the UK combined with a redefinition to allow homosexuals to marry makes a push for legal polygamy more likely. In a recent article in The Conversation, a Muslim lawyer argue that this is a cause that feminists should champion. Zainab Naqvi, a visiting lecturer at the University of Birmingham, pointed out that the traditional definition of marriage in English law as 'the voluntary union for life of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others' is no longer valid." In "A British Muslim pushes for polygamy after same-sex marriage," by Michael Cook, Mercator Net, 16 May 2016.

          In a similar vein, one learns:  "Although Mark Goldfeder does not argue the right or wrong of plural marriage, he maintains that polygamy is the next step—after same-sex marriage—in the development of U.S. family law. Providing a road map to show how such legalization could be handled, he explores the legislative and administrative arguments which demonstrate that plural marriage is not as farfetched—or as far off—as we might think. Goldfeder argues not only that polygamy is in keeping with the legislative values and freedoms of the United States, but also that it would not be difficult to manage or administrate within our current legal system." In a sales pitch for "Legalizing Plural Marriage," Mark Goldfeder, University Press of New England, publication date 9 May 2017.

          The easy takeaway from this is that the word, marriage, to some now can mean any number of participants, from one to many, any combination of genders and spoken of in a plethora of ways, and any length of time, from the shortest to the lifelong. And so, marriage means whatever someone says it does, and the predicted friction over the word will only make less cohesive society.

 

[ 5 ]    Wedding as rape? Some radical Western feminists argue versions of this, yet so many stay silent on the truth of it around the world.

          Courageous reporting is found, as one reads:  "In the moments before he raped the 12-year-old girl, the Islamic State fighter took the time to explain that what he was about to do was not a sin. Because the preteen girl practiced a religion other than Islam, the Quran not only gave him the right to rape her -- it condoned and encouraged it, he insisted. He bound her hands and gagged her. Then he knelt beside the bed and prostrated himself in prayer before getting on top of her. When it was over, he knelt to pray again, bookending the rape with acts of religious devotion." In "ISIS Enshrines a Theology of Rape," by Rulmini Callimachi, New York Times, 13 August 2015.

 

 Worshipful Rape

 

          The article states: " 'He kept telling me this is ibadah,' she said, using a term from Islamic scripture meaning worship."  Consider the fact of Modern Slavery .

 

[ 6 ]    I find this opinion amusing, because among various proponents for retaining or changing the definition of the word, so many tout "marriage equality" for the "magic number two," while rationalizing a proscription against some other number -- or even animal or thing. But as seen above in various citations, there are many ways the word is being used or abused, such that all pleas for "marriage equality" contain in them some version of inequality alongside a stance as being morally superior to another's definition and use. Thus, one sees even the phrase, "marriage equality," is its own dilemma.

          Those who tout "marriage equality" but only for two reflect the century-old satire:  "Marriage, n: the state or condition of a community consisting of a master, a mistress, and two slaves, making in all, two." Ambrose Bierce, "The Devil's Dictionary," 1911.

          The small sampling of other views as shown above demonstrate that "two" is itself a prejudice.

 

[ 7 ]   It can be fun to coin a word or phrase. For this survey of varying proposed definitions of a single word, marriage, there is "a wrong datum" in the mix. One finds proponents one might identify as heterosexual two-ists seeming arrayed against homosexual two-ists, but we see other data above. One sees a one-ist, varying versions of three-ists and groupists.

 

 Fallible, Corruptible and Beyond Human Capacity

 

          Continuing on with Asimov's thought experiment in text, one reads:  "Humans are fallible, also corruptible, and ordinary mechanical devices are liable to mechanical failure. 'The real point of the matter is that what we call a 'wrong datum' is one which is inconsistent with all other known data. It is our only criterion of right and wrong. It is the Machine's as well. Order it for instance, to direct agricultural activity on the basis of an average July temperature in Iowa of 57 degrees Fahrenheit. It won’t accept that. It will not give an answer. -- Not that it has any prejudice against that particular temperature, or that an answer is impossible; but because, in the light of all the other data fed it over a period of years, it knows that the probability of an average July temperature of 57 is virtually nil. It rejects that datum. 'The only way a 'wrong datum' can be forced on the Machine is to include it as part of a self-consistent whole, all of which is subtly wrong in a manner either too delicate for the Machine to detect or outside the Machine's experience. The former is beyond human capacity, and the latter is almost so, and is becoming more nearly so as the Machine's experience increases by the second."

          Substituting "society" for "machine," one might see that "the only way a 'wrong datum' can be forced on society is to include it as part of a self-consistent whole, all of which is subtly wrong in a manner either too delicate for society to detect or outside society's experience. "Beyond human capacity... society is almost so, and is becoming more nearly so as society's experience increases...."

          What then does a phrase such as "marriage equality" mean, when one proposing it as anything more than an unexamined slogan in the larger slogan soup of society argues against "equality" for a group which said proponent defines outside the boundary of "equality."

          Asmiov reminds "...that correct data is indeed given, and correct answers are indeed received, but that they are then ignored. There is no way the Machine can enforce obedience to its dictates." There is but a poor, ham-handed way society can enforce obedience to its dictates.

 

 Whatever You Mean It to Mean Meaninglessly

 

          The bumbling Supreme Court decision ultimately answers nothing, except to choose one prejudice over another and define it as "right." The game is not over, and probably will never be, for when all the examples above are stewed together in one pot, the definition of the word "marriage" comes down to "whatever you mean it to be." Nothing more, and probably ever less.

          A popular and sometimes politicized resource notes: "The word 'marriage' derives from Middle English mariage, which first appears in 1250–1300 CE. This in turn is derived from Old French marier (to marry) and ultimately Latin marītāre meaning to provide with a husband or wife and marītāri meaning to get married. The adjective marīt-us -a, -um meaning matrimonial or nuptial could also be used in the masculine form as a noun for 'husband' and in the feminine form for 'wife.' The related word 'matrimony' derives from the Old French word matremoine which appears around 1300 CE and ultimately derives from Latin mātrimōnium which combines the two concepts mater meaning 'mother' and the suffix -monium signifying 'action, state, or condition'." In "Marriage," Wikipedia article, n. d.

          That one-time "action, state, or condition" of being joined with the possibility of "mother," i.e. motherhood,  is now any gender, of varying number and the word's etymology is now but dusty history, as the definition of "marriage" is now often "barren" in terms of child bearing and "whatever" anyone says it is. 

          Marriage has no consistent definition any longer. "Such is the end of a tale, with meaninglessness its fate."

 

[ 8 ]  The same-sex marriage advocates pretended there was no "slippery slope," advocating under the slogan of "marriage equality." Arguing with slogans serves up nothing cogent, and serves only to stir the pot .

            Demonstrably there is an easily observable slippery slope as the above citations demonstrate.

 

 The Fundamental Right to Be Fundamentally Wrong

 

          Marchant's argument continued:  "The path to recognition of robot-human marriage is likely to be equally, if not more, lengthy, torturous, and contested. But as the court emphasized at the close of its opinion in Obergefell, the issue comes down to the 'fundamental right' of a person in a free society to choose the nature of the relationships and lifestyle they choose to pursue, providing they do not unreasonably harm others in exercising their choices. Robot-human marriage is not about robot rights; it is about the right of a human to choose to marry a robot."

          That notion of fundamental right may be seen through Asimov's notion of "wrong datum."  If marriage is a matter of individual self-identification and love a completely personal choice, then Marchant's observation is especially powerful. It is not about robot rights. It is not about the number included in a legally recognized relationship. Laughingly, it is not about bridge rights or sex doll rights.

          Marchant continues in a prophetic manner:  "While few people would understand or support robot-human intimacy today, as robots get more sophisticated and humanlike, more and more people will find love, happiness, and intimacy in the arms of a machine. Robot sex and love is coming, and robot-human marriage will likely not be far behind."

          "Words erode and wither" and the legal twists of this new "fundamental right" have only just begun, for the slippery slope is indeed slippery, and it is very, very real.

 

[ 9 ]   Only decades after the publishing of that 1972 novel  one reads:   "A Japanese company claims to have reached the next level in developing the most genuine looking sex doll which comes complete with realistic feeling skin and authentic looking eyes. Orient Industry say their new range of dolls, made from high quality silicon, are so realistic there is very little to distinguish them from a real girlfriend at first glance. The dolls, which are non inflatable, are sold under the name 'Dutch Wives', a Japanese term for a sex doll, and adverts in the media boast that anyone who buys one will never want a real girlfriend again." In "Japan's creepy sex doll industry 'reaches next level' in creation of perfect artificial £4,000 ‘Dutch Wife’ which comes with 'realistic feeling skin'," by Jennifer Newton, Daily Mail UK, 12 August 2014.

          The robotic slippery slope slips.  One learns:  "The Japanese population is in decline, the Japanese sex doll trade is booming and the field of robotics seems to be making startling new discoveries every single day. Moreover, our traditional views on marriage, sex, gender and relationships are changing dramatically when compared to the generation that spawned our parents. It is this combination that puts Japan at the cutting edge forefront of a bizarre, yet predictably grim, new industry – sex robotics." In "#FutureHype: When Japanese Sex Dolls ‘Come Alive’ With Robotics," by Jordan Gold, Konbini, 27 November 2014.

 

 Robophilia and Robophobia

 

          New language alert:  "Dr Driscoll, an expert on the psychology of sex and relationships, said: 'We tend to think about issues such as virtual reality and robotic sex within the context of current norms. Robophilia may be alien now, but could be normal in the near future as attitudes evolve with technology.' The Sky News survey also found that many people fear robots could take over the planet, and 60 per cent said the government should stop androids replacing humans in the workplace." In "15 per cent of British men (and a few women) would have sex with a robot," by Tim Nixon, Sun UK, 2 September 2015. One must presume the others are robophobic. But seriously....

          ...experts find that the science-fiction of the Stepford wives moves closer to reality. One reads:  "While there are fears robots may rise up to take over the world if artificial intelligence progresses too quickly, some of us may find ourselves simply marrying machines in the future. A leading computer scientist has predicted that as robots become more human-like, people may start turning to them for companionship." In "Would you MARRY a robot? Artificial intelligence will allow people to find lasting love with machines, expert claims," by Richard Gray, Mail Online, 12 February 2016.

          One might return to the tales above of our one-ists, two-ists of heterosexual and homosexual flavors, throuples of various gender combinations and even larger groupings, and then re-think the argument as represented by quotes from the news: "Chief Justice John Roberts said that the legal argument used to justify same-sex marriage could be used by polygamist couples." He failed to foresee it could also justify marriage to machines.

          Yup. Wrong datum feeds the slippery slope, and the slip slides towards people, things and 'whatever.' And the word now means....

 

[ 10 ]  While some late 20th century feminists might think they were at the forefront in labeling marriage as not only patriarchal but also just another form of prostitution, the sentiment as quoted above comes from 1848. The founding documents of the Communists labeled marriage from the narrow focus of "production" viewed through the small lens of Marxist economics.

 

 To Destroy the Most Hallowed of Relations

 

          "On what foundation is the present family, the bourgeois family, based? On capital, on private gain. In its completely developed form, this family exists only among the bourgeoisie. But this state of things finds its complement in the practical absence of the family among the proletarians, and in public prostitution. The bourgeois family will vanish as a matter of course when its complement vanishes, and both will vanish with the vanishing of capital. Do you charge us with wanting to stop the exploitation of children by their parents? To this crime we plead guilty. But, you say, we destroy the most hallowed of relations, when we replace home education by social." In Chapter II. "Proletarians and Communists," Manifesto of the Communist Party, Marx/Engels Selected Works, Vol. One, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1969.

          Engels wrote much about this social revolution, as he saw it.

          One reads:  "We are now approaching a social revolution in which the economic foundations of monogamy as they have existed hitherto will disappear just as surely as those of its complement-prostitution. Monogamy arose from the concentration of considerable wealth in the hands of a single individuals man-and from the need to bequeath this wealth to the children of that man and of no other. For this purpose, the monogamy of the woman was required, not that of the man, so this monogamy of the woman did not in any way interfere with open or concealed polygamy on the part of the man. But by transforming by far the greater portion, at any rate, of permanent, heritable wealth – the means of production – into social property, the coming social revolution will reduce to a minimum all this anxiety about bequeathing and inheriting. Having arisen from economic causes, will monogamy then disappear when these causes disappear?" In "The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State," Frederick Engels, October 1884, Hottingen-Zurich.

          Will monogamy disappear? It has, to a large extent. One report above says clearly "Chief Justice John Roberts said that the legal argument used to justify same-sex marriage could be used by polygamist couples." That occurred almost immediately.

           More than a century earlier, Engels foresaw this about what he termed monogamy, albeit incorrectly. "One might answer, not without reason: far from disappearing, it will, on the contrary, be realized completely. For with the transformation of the means of production into social property there will disappear also wage-labor, the proletariat, and therefore the necessity for a certain – statistically calculable – number of women to surrender themselves for money. Prostitution disappears; monogamy, instead of collapsing, at last becomes a reality – also for men."

           Marriage rates decline strikingly in many nations, and with the decline in "bourgeois" marriage there is proven a decline in birth rates to below-replacement numbers. Given small populations of certain groups, the obvious and inverse of Marx' and Engels' dream occurs. Wage-labor and the means of production declines, as fewer find employment, a fact borne out by employment statistics throughout this post-modern world.

 

 Free Love

 

          Engels then made quite the same argument as did the same-sex marriage proponents before the US Supreme Court, as he wrote:  "But the intense emotion of individual sex-love varies very much in duration from one individual to another, especially among men, and if affection definitely comes to an end or is supplanted by a new passionate love, separation is a benefit for both partners as well as for society – only people will then be spared having to wade through the useless mire of a divorce case."

          The "modern" argument that marriage is about "love" failed to define what love is, to begin with, a definition far outside the province of law. The newest class -- same-sex marriage, as approved by a "supreme" court -- now gets to "wade through the useless mire of a divorce case."

          Engels was clear in what he wrote:   "What we can now conjecture about the way in which sexual relations will be ordered after the impending overthrow of capitalist production is mainly of a negative character, limited for the most part to what will disappear. But what will there be new? That will be answered when a new generation has grown up: a generation of men who never in their lives have known what it is to buy a woman’s surrender with money or any other social instrument of power; a generation of women who have never known what it is to give themselves to a man from any other considerations than real love, or to refuse to give themselves to their lover from fear of the economic consequences. When these people are in the world, they will care precious little what anybody today thinks they ought to do; they will make their own practice and their corresponding public opinion about the practice of each individual – and that will be the end of it."

          Making "their own practice" is the theme of the many news reports as cited above. Marriage as of one individual, two of either gender, three and more, as well as marriage to inanimate objects comes to this. "Marriage" and the simple-minded slogan "marriage equality" mean nothing at this juncture. And none of this concludes well for a society now so in flux over a word -- marriage -- that it is as Engels foretold. "...they will care precious little what anybody today thinks they ought to do; they will make their own practice and their corresponding public opinion about the practice of each individual -- and that will be the end of it."

 

 Mater Dolorosa, Many Times Over

 

           Is this so? One reads:  "The new report, 'The Moynihan Report Revisited,' outlines some of the very same challenges to the well-being of black families chronicled back then, including acute and concentrated poverty in low-income black neighborhoods populated by underemployed and unemployed residents; crime; inequality in housing, employment, education, health care, and the criminal justice system; high rates of nonmarital births and children raised in households headed by single women; and social welfare policies that undermine the role of black men. (The report also offers more context about the larger political, social, legal and economic forces that have contributed to the problems.) 'Today, the share of white children born outside marriage is about the same as the share of black children born outside marriage in Moynihan’s day,' the Urban Institute report said. 'The percentage of black children born to unmarried mothers, in comparison, tripled between the early 1960s and 2009, remaining far higher than the percentage of white children born to unmarried mothers'." In "Was the Moynihan Report right? Sobering findings after 1965 study is revisited," by Marjorie Valbrun, Washington Post, 13 June 2013.

 

 Unfair Advantages?

 

          Moreover, the day's political theorists are now thinking about what to not "allow" parents to do. One reads: " 'What we realised we needed was a way of thinking about what it was we wanted to allow parents to do for their children, and what it was that we didn’t need to allow parents to do for their children, if allowing those activities would create unfairnesses for other people’s children'." In "Is having a loving family an unfair advantage?" by Joe Gelonesi, ABC Australia, 1 May 2015.

          Is having a loving family an unfair advantage? Or a bourgeois marriage?

          Marriage is no longer supreme in the new secular, legalistic religion, as "nonmarital births" increase in the population.

          Marriage is no longer clearly defined, but still being legally challenged, as the above many citations demonstrate with ease.

          Marriage is no longer encouraged except as a "means of production" for state benefits such as insurance, welfare and social security. It becomes merely a "fundamental right" to pass on tax-subsidized "production" from party to party (and soon parties).

          Marriage, "public and private prostitution," "bourgeois" and decrepit, is becoming abolished, in part as an attempt to abolish the "present means of production" as dreamt socialists for decades. Amen.

          Now the challenge is to indentify a single post-modern society in which prosperity through "scientific" socialist leadership is spread to all equally. "...that will be the end of it."

 

[ 11 ]  What an effective way to "abolish the family" than to define marriage into a state of confused litigation and heated societal argument.

 

 From the Marxist Canon

 

          One notes in an excerpt from the Marxist canon:   "Herr Grün, typical Young-German man of letters that he is, betrays, when he treats of love, how little he has learned from Fourier’s critique. In his opinion, it is of no consequence whether one proceeds from the abolition of marriage or from the abolition of private property; the one must necessarily follow upon the other. But to wish to proceed from any dissolution of marriage other than that which now exists in practice in bourgeois society, is to cherish a purely literary illusion. Fourier, as Grün might have discovered in his works, always proceeds from the transformation of production." In "Karl Grün - Fourierism," Volume II of The German Ideology, Critique of Modern German Philosophy According to Its Representatives Feuerbach, B. Bauer and Stirner, and of German Socialism According to Its Various Prophets," by Marx and Engels, Fall 1845 to mid-1846.

          Alas this secular theology attacked the poor, as one also read:  "The peasant villages have perhaps suffered most from this revolution in sex relations. An epidemic of marriages and divorces broke out in the country districts. Peasants with a respectable married life of forty years and more behind them suddenly decided to leave their wives and remarry. Peasant boys looked upon marriage as an exciting game and changed wives with the change of seasons. It was not an unusual occurrence for a boy of twenty to have had three or four wives, or for a girl of the same age to have had three or four abortions'." In "The Russian Effort to Abolish Marriage," by "A Woman Resident in Russia," The Atlantic, July 1926 Issue.

          With the now-successful attack on what has sometimes been called "traditional marriage," and with marriage as a word now being applied to a single person's celebration of self, same-sex unions, the demand for recognition for more than two in a union, as well as marriage to animals and things, the "slippery slope" is become a ski jump of fast changing arguments. The pretense that same-sex marriage was not the first slip for the above documented examples was always a specious argument proposed by those who assert The Privileges of Intellectuals . If they believed their assertion, they are proven incorrect. If they did not, they misrepresented the now proven next steps in this shredding of weddings.

          In the dissonance of what some call divisions between "church and state," not only has the state won, but in attempting to define marriage, it has become its own secular religion and acquired yet another "sacrament" by simple, legalistic conquest, already under legal attack for yet further change.

          La commedia è finita! Sort of....

 

[ 12 ]  Might Islamic honor killings around the world as media report them be "relics of bourgeois prejudice?"  One reads:  "...the rate of honor violence incidents extends far beyond homicides, including: stalking, harassment, false imprisonment, forced genital mutilation, forced marriage, and every form of sexual/ physical/ emotional/ verbal violence that you can imagine. There are surely many thousands of such incidents every year, and most are hidden from our awareness. Around the world, honor violence is a far greater issue. The UN estimates that over 5,000 such murders occur annually -- and that number only includes the few honor killings that officials ever find out about. 800 million women and girls live under the threat of honor killing, terrified that if they make one wrong move, or are unfortunate to be sexually abused or even raped, they will be murdered." In "The Horror of Honor Killing: In America and Around the World," by MeiMei Fox, HufPost, 16 September 2014. Islamic cultures have failed to prevent those "relics of bourgeois prejudice." So have Communists, as one looks back to the USSR.

 

 Domestic Violence and Rape

 

          Communists of the Soviet Union failed to deliver on their promise, as one finds an abstract for an APA study which notes: "A primary indicator of men's oppression of women in the Soviet Union, as elsewhere in the world, is the level of male violence against women. In the USSR, crimes against women, such as domestic violence and rape, are widespread. To gain a better understanding of rape and domestic violence in the USSR, consideration is given to (1) statistics that indicate the severity and magnitude of these crimes, (2) the cultural and historical context of rape and battery, (3) the response of the legal system, and (4) Soviet theories of the causes of rape and domestic violence." The study is titled "Rape and domestic violence in the USSR," by Valerie Sperling, in "Response to the Victimization of Women & Children," Vol. 13(3), 1990.

          The bourgeois Western world seems quite akin to a now-famous failed Communist experiment, and these "bourgeois relics" seem proven to be gender equal in odd ways. One reads:  "University of New Hampshire researcher Murray Straus calls it “selective inattention” because of the total emphasis on female victims, despite what research has shown since 1977. Straus and his colleagues found that in minor violence, the incident rates were equal for men and women. In cases of severe violence, more men were victimized than women, with 1.8 million women victims of severe violence and 2 million male victims of severe violence a year. Women suffer a greater amount of total injuries ranging from mild to serious, but when it comes to serious injuries where weapons and object use come into play, the injury rate may be about the same. Hundreds of scientific studies support what every experienced law-enforcement officer knows: half the time, it is a case of mutual combat; a quarter of the time only the woman is violent; a quarter of the time only the man is. Women strike first in some manner half the time, which of course, greatly increases her chances of being hurt in return." In "In Cases of Domestic Violence, Men Are Also Victims," by Philip W. Cook, Daily Beast, 22 July 2013.

          Engels' 1884 "scientific" blather was simply wrong and wrongheaded. It remains false today, and yet the ardent and true believers press forward in their search to mitigate elemental bursts of jealousy which they saw and see as "relics of bourgeois prejudice." Whatever "marriage equality" means -- as yet not finally defined -- will cure societal ills was the old argument, and it is being trotted out as the new argument too.

 

[ 13 ]  Necessary humor has long vivisected all the seriousness about connubial relations. Consider an anonymous rhyme: "Say it with flowers / Say it with eats, / Say it with kisses, / Say it with sweets, / Say it with jewelry, / Say it with drink, / But always be careful / Not to say it with ink!" Supremely true, it seems.

 

 Always Be Careful for a Joke

 

          For those who argue marriage as wholly equivalent with love, one reads another anonymous rhyme:  Love is like an onion / You taste it with delight, / And when it's gone you wonder / What ever made you bite." Within weeks after the Supreme Court fumbled towards same-sex marriage as a right while in a dissent question foreseeing multiple marriage as the next immediate issue, the first same-sex divorce was filed. One can hardly wait to watch the dissolutions as "equality" stalks the field of candidates and potential candidates as the word becomes porous, poor us!

          Now old jokes can be seen as no longer funny, and it becomes possible to criticize them for being non-inclusive and intolerant. "Marriage is a romance is a romance in which the hero dies in the first chapter" could be a "bromance," and the  "hero" a "heroine," or perhaps several.

          In an earlier time, Henny Youngman (1906-1998) joked, "Take my wife... Really." How funny is "take my spouse.... Really?"  Or perhaps, "I take my wife everywhere, but she keeps finding her way back." Her? Could be a "him" in this transgendered world, could it not? Perhaps a "them" in the parlance of the polygamist?

          Late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel joked, "President Obama came out with approval of same-sex marriage. He said that, over the years, he has been going through an evolution on the issue. That makes opponents on the far right doubly angry. They don’t believe in gay marriage or evolution." One wonders when approval will come for multiple marriages, given that there is an applauded "evolution on the issue?"

          Comic Chris Rock quipped, saying, "Gay people got a right to be as miserable as everybody else." Perhaps the polyamory enthusiasts will enjoy being "miserable" too? Misery loves company, so is it said.

          David Cross' joke without much other than contempt for others with differing views got a laugh, as he noted, "I really don’t have a problem with gay marriage -- because I’m tolerant and rational." Others are deemed neither tolerant nor rational, of course, and that is officially funny to those for whom "official" is an important descriptor of what is currently funny or offensive.

          Bill Maher quipped, "... for the record, all marriages are 'same sex' marriages. You get married, and every night, it's the same sex." But with multiple wives, short term mut'a, and captured slaves with whom a radical may practice 'ibadah,' certainly the enlightened and funny Maher would not find humor?

          For all the silly seasons of post-modern modernity and sub rosa schemes to abolish the family in favor of the "ism" of choice, one might review yet more anonymous levity:  "The two genders are masculine and feminine. The masculines are divided into temperate and intemperate, and feminines into frigid and torrid." It is assured the "relics of bourgeois prejudice" will be with mankind for a very long time, and greeted with horror and laughter alike.

          After all, G. B. Shaw noted, "Marriage is popular because it combines the maximum of temptation with the maximum of opportunity." An anonymous chimes in in this time: "I'll tell you straight, it's very queer." But for all those so passionately involved in arguing and litigating their version of "marriage equality," one may be sure Oscar Wilde's quip is telling:  "To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance."

 

 I Love Me and We Love Us -- But Not Them

 

          But romance expressed how? "The University of Tennessee is asking students to use 'ze, hir, hirs, and xe, xem, xyr.' No, those words are not another language. These are proposed gender-neutral singular versions of pronouns. The University of Tennessee Office for Diversity and Inclusion is asking students and faculty to use the pronouns in order to create a more inclusive campus. They say it alleviates a heavy burden for people expressing different genders or identities." In "UT Knoxville encourages students to use gender-neutral pronouns," WATE (ABC Channel 6), Knoxville, 27 August 2015.

          Heeding this in terms of Wilde's quip above, the most obvious and easy gender-neutral pronouns easily yield "I love me."

          Trying to take postmodern silliness seriously, one finds the language of love transcribed on one suggested scheme as "he loves her" becomes "ne loves ver," while "she loves him" becomes "ve loves nem," unless "ne loves nem," while "ve loves ver," and for the swarm of alternatives, perhaps, "xe loves xem." One may address further "inQUEERies" to the current Pride leadership of UT. In another, other pronouns are "suggested."

          Alas for  pride at this institution of higher education, for not noticing that "ze" is "she" and the plural "they" in Dutch. Thus the pronoun has a linguistic gender antecedent, and all the pride folks have done in one suggestion is invert the binary meaning.

          If "music be the food of love," the music of UT's "invented pronouns" are not particularly alluring nor nourishing, though donations are requested at the site per the usual. Amusingly the "new" language is not even particularly "new." Apparently post-modern reaches back into the 18th century.

          One finds: "...the female grammarian who introduced this he business was a feminist if ever there was one. Anne Fisher (1719-78) was not only a woman of letters but also a prosperous entrepreneur. She ran a school for young ladies and operated a printing business and a newspaper in Newcastle with her husband, Thomas Slack. In short, she was the last person you would expect to suggest that he should apply to both sexes. But apparently she couldn’t get her mind around the idea of using they as a singular." In "All-Purpose Pronoun," by Patricia T. O'Conner and Stewart Kellerman, New York Times, 21 July 2009.

          Another citation:  "...ca. 1850 ne, nis, nim; hiser, NY Commercial Advertiser, 7 August 1884, 3." In "The Epicene Pronouns: A Chronology of the Word That Failed," by Dennis Baron, with citations from "The Epicene Pronoun: The Word That Failed" American Speech 56 (1981): 83-97 and my book, Grammar and Gender (New Haven and London: Yale Univ. Press, 1986).

          It becomes a greater comedy to note that when UT's Pride suggestions tell that "he" becomes "ne" and "she" becomes "ve," as the gender binaries are retained. Therefore the language game does nothing to blur gender distinctions. It merely makes new dictionary entries, as one finds in an English-German dictionary wherein in "he" is "er" and "she" is "sie," or a French-English dictionary when "he" is "il" and "she" is "elle." One may conclude then that the UT diversity language as has been suggested is demonstrably as sexist as the language it purports to correct, for its translated gender binary synonyms.

 

 Class?

 

          For those interested in the "comedic" issue of income inequality, one reads: "Motion: That the President’s Four-Year Comprehensive Performance Review of Chancellor Cheek be approved; and that the recommended 10% increase in Chancellor Cheek’s base salary be approved to bring his base salary to $434,452.00 (when rounded up to the next dollar) effective July 1, 2013." In "The University of Tennessee, Board of Trustees Executive and Compensation Committee," 19 June 2013. Donna Marie Braquet, head of the Pride Center and an Assistant Professor in Library and noted in the database by the non-inclusive gender "F,' earns a twelve-month salary of $52,445.  By way of comparison, one learns that the median household income, 2009-2013, in Knoxville was $33,595 as compared to the state of Tennessee of. $44,298.   Yearly tuition there is estimated by some sources at $23,754, in order that UT students be able to hang Degrees on the wall .

          Recently Chancellor Cheek cut funding for UT's "Sex Week."  One reads:  "Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek said today the campus will not be using state tax or tuition dollars to fund Sex Week. Cheek said that after reviewing the final agenda for the student-programmed event he determined that it should not be funded by state tax dollars." In "UT Announces Changes in State Funding for Sex Week," Karen Simsen, Tennessee Today, University of Tennessee at Knoxville, 20 March 2013.

          One wonders about campus funding for other university entities as the issue of "tax or tuition dollars" collides with tax payers exercising various democratic modes of cultural complaint. Perhaps a new position could be created as Doctor Oppression comes to call to work on the issues surrounding Income Inequality in academia.

          Back to humor, as if we'd never left it.  "Mares eat oats, and lambs eat oats and little lambs eat ivy; a kid'll eat ivy too -- wouldn't ewe, you sexist! So toyed Professor Jenny Talia, tickling someone's pro-noun fancies. Fans seize! Says a joke?" Seize a joke here and there, says a joke most anywhere.

          While the immediately above is a small attempt at humor, what one finds in academia is its own, witty entry. One reads a warning to students:  "...or referring to women/men as females or males" is found under "Gross generalizations, stereotypes, and derogatory/oppressive language are not acceptable," a sub-section of a syllabus for "WST338: Women & Popular Culture, Washington State University – Fall 2015, Department of Critical Culture, Gender, and Race Studies," by Selena Lester Breikss.

          Heeding this, how shall one reflect on "F" in the database of UT for its Pride leader's gender? Is the database derogatory or offensive? As public figures' publicly-available salaries are better known to those curious enough to look, it is assured that such information can be seen as offensive. Funny, huh?

          One notes that binary "women/men" divides humans into two groups, quite as does "female" and "male," but the one is deemed "derogatory/oppressive language" referring to "females or males" while "women/men" according to the syllabus text is apparently not. Gender binary exists, even if separated by a grammatical slash. Looking for more about the instructor, one finds in the Washington State University site in the spring of 2015, mention of this instructor as "Selena Lester (Ph.D. student)," in '"Spring 2015 News Review," Washington State University, 16 June 2015. Apparently "ve" added a name, perhaps through some wedding shredding. "Bonne chance," says French, a gender binary language  receiving its own share of complaints for those binaries. "C'est dommage, je pense."

          This state-sponsored university's instructor's syllabus mentions various topics by week:  among them, "Women, Media & Feminism," "Women, Misogyny & Racism," "Women & Advertising," "Women, Race & Media," "Horror & The Monstrous Feminine," "Women & Pop Music," "Women & Masculinity," and "Women & Social Media."

          One wonders, if suggesting these topics focus on "females" is "offensive" for stereotyping one of two genders. One could inquire: are women no longer properly "female" in this prideful, postmodern world? Perhaps the Supreme Court will ultimately have to decide this as well?

 

 May the Farce Be With You

 

          With the University of Tennessee and Washington State "advice" as to what is acceptable language, one finds suggestions that gender binaries are somehow bad, all the while the language of these examples employ them in order to speak about them. There is great humor in this, as Marx himself may have meant when he observed, things come back as "a farce."

          And so, in the name of the coming state of greater confusion between one-ists, two-ists, three-ists and more, thing-ists and rapists too, one could use a formatted ceremony: "Do -- insert a gender neutral pronoun or pronouns, state your gender neutral name or names -- take this -- select from person/persons/animal/thing, state a gender neutral name or names, even if your own name or names -- to be your awfully wedded -- select from person/persons/animal/thing. According to the laws of the moment and the magic number -- insert a number of your choice --,  and by the authority invested in me, I now pronounce -- insert an all-purpose genderless noun -- and -- insert an all-purpose genderless noun, and repeat as necessary. You may kiss the -- insert a genderless proper noun denoting person/persons/animal/thing."

          Ah, men. Ah, women. Ah building bridges to get your goat's computer, as the rape of the language continues, until the abolition of meaning is completed. The humorously "awfully wedded" above is borrowed from Dylan Thomas' Under Milk Wood.

          In this manner one would guard against "wrong datum" being spoken into the greater culture of inclusiveness which so easily "discludes" those officially rejected. For any violations, call for the language police, who as above do not agree each with the other. By some count today, the alternative "suggested" pronouns now number over one hundred, What the Dickens is up with that? The assault on language has become a silly season, for the gender-phobic of the moment.

          For a survey on the post-modern Gordian knots tying many up of today's ardent activists in the pursuit of a sexless, sex-crazed language fleshed out this cultural adventure, see:  Hen Party - a eunuch's cluck.

 

[ 14 ]    Supremely written, "These new insights have strengthened, not weakened, the institution." So begins the majority decision voted on in a 5-4 decision.

          And yet one finds: "For better or for worse, marriage today isn't what it used to be. According to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data, just over half (51 percent) of American adults were married in 2011; in 1960, 72 percent had rings on their fingers. It's also no longer for the young: In 1995, 59 percent of women were married by age 25, while between 2006 and 2010 only 44 percent in that age group had ever said "I do," according to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). In 2010, the median age for first marriage was 25.8 for women and 28.3 for men — a steady rise since 1960, when the median age for both men and women was in the early 20s." In "The changing face — and age — of marriage," by Anna Miller, American Psychological Association, April 2013, Vol. 44, No. 4.

          Is the APA disagreeing with the majority argument of Obergefell v. Hodges? One finds the "strengthened" institution is also not "what it used to be." 

 

 The Strengthened Institution Isn't Strong

 

          As to the odds, one reads:  "According to the latest national data from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), the likelihood that a couple will celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary today isn't much greater than a coin toss: 52 percent for women and 56 percent for men. Although the rate of divorce has declined slowly and steadily since the early 1980s, the rate of marriage has diminished rapidly, with more people choosing to marry later in life (see The changing face - and age - of marriage). As a result, experts routinely estimate that between 40 percent and 50 percent of marriages today will end in divorce." In "Can this marriage be saved?" by Anna Miller, American Psychological Association, April 2013, Vol. 44, No.4.

          Cited elsewhere among these footnoted rhymes, one reads:  "The Census Bureau reported Thursday that the nation’s marriage rate is the lowest since 1920, and the first-time inclusion of same sex married couples did little to reverse the decline. According to Pew Research Center analysis, the marriage rate of Americans 18 and older hit a bottom of 50.3 percent in 2013, down from 50.5 percent in 2012. In 1920, the first year mentioned, 65 percent were married, and the marriage rate hit a high of 72.2 percent in 1960." In "Census: Marriage rate at 93-year low, even including same-sex couples," by Paul Bedard, Washington Examiner, 18 September 2014.

          The first same-sex divorces have already been filed only a month after the Supreme Court decision affirming that "new insights" have "strengthened, not weakened, the institution." Is this institution viewed by the broader survey above now of one, two, three or more, perhaps many more, between human and human, human and non-human, lasting minutes or a lifetime, involved with loving relationships and rape, and requiring new pronouns alongside the new license lingo? Ah, the strengthening "decline" of it all for all "these new insights."

 

 Politics, Always Politics

 

          Loved by some and hated by others politically, Justice Scalia dissented from the majority, observing: "These cases ask us to decide whether the Fourteenth Amendment contains a limitation that requires the States to license and recognize marriages between two people of the same sex. Does it remove that issue from the political process? Of course not."

          Given the ensuing litigation for multiple marriages, he was correct in a way the Supreme decision did not foresee. The larger issue is not removed from "the political process."

          Later, that dissent noted: "A system of government that makes the People subordinate to a committee of nine unelected lawyers does not deserve to be called a democracy." Both the political Left and Right have made that claim, so it must be true.

          Consider some observations in rhyme:  Democracy is radical , and  Democracy is stupid , for supremely democracy can be both stupid and radical, as any number of close decisions have shown throughout the ages.

 

[ 15 ]   The assertion of "social order" is interesting, for there was a social order during the period before the same-sex decision such as was asserted in the now defunct Defense of Marriage Act.

 

 Consistent Inconsistency

 

          The Defense of Marriage Act was passed in 1996 by Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton. In that time, he wrote:  "I have long opposed governmental recognition of same-gender marriages and this legislation is consistent with that position. The Act confirms the right of each state to determine its own policy with respect to same gender marriage and clarifies for purposes of federal law the operative meaning of the terms 'marriage' and 'spouse'." In Clinton's "President's statement on DOMA," 20 September 1996.

          Years later, he wrote:  "When I signed the bill, I included a statement with the admonition that 'enactment of this legislation should not, despite the fierce and at times divisive rhetoric surrounding it, be understood to provide an excuse for discrimination.' Reading those words today, I know now that, even worse than providing an excuse for discrimination, the law is itself discriminatory. It should be overturned." In "It’s time to overturn DOMA," by Bill Clinton, Washington Post, 7 March 2013.

          One is tempted to recall another quote:  "It depends upon what the meaning of the word 'is' is. If 'is' means 'is and never has been' that's one thing - if it means 'there is none', that was a completely true statement." Bill Clinton, 17 August 1998.

          "...the law is itself discriminatory."

          One might add, the Law is itself discriminatory, in spite of the 14th amendment argument that it has been made non-discriminatory. Validating that "magic number two" discriminates against three and more as they self identify.

          In 2013 the Supreme Court struck down a provision of the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996, in another 5-to-4 majority of the Supreme Court.

 

 Keystone Kops and Harmed Individuals

 

          By Kennedy asserting that marriage is "a keystone of the Nation’s social order," the majority decision decides what that social is, and therefore the previous must have been "disorder." What is certain with the filing of a polygamous family in Montana directly following this decision about "social order" is that one individual's social order is not another individual's social order.          

          Moreover Kennedy wrote for the majority of five against a minority of four, "There may be an initial inclination to await further legislation, litigation, and debate, but referenda, legislative debates, and grassroots campaigns; studies and other writings; and extensive litigation in state and federal courts have led to an enhanced understanding of the issue. While the Constitution contemplates that democracy is the appropriate process for change, individuals who are harmed need not await legislative action before asserting a fundamental right." With this simple admission, the majority decision stands against "further legislation, litigation, and debate" and more, in favor of the majority of five's view of the nation's "social order."

          Surprise! The "magic number two" given us by the New York Times' reporting is not the end of debate nor of t he litigation. Whatever one's stance as to who defines the legal term of marriage, it is now defined by Kennedy and four other justices as a "social order" of any "two," but by that decision also not a "social order" of less than two or more than two.

          Voilà. Discrimination, yet again.

          Those next individuals "harmed," in Kennedy's seemingly sensible decision, also will not want to wait for "legislative action before asserting a fundamental right." Kennedy has stumbled on his own reasoning, it is assured, and the "social order" of the nation is not bettered for it because the "debate and litigation" have not ended with this "fundamental" decision, for one simple reason to difficult for law and lawyers solve.

          Considering Justice Kennedy's "keystone" assertion, one finds that this "keystone of the Nation's social order" is withering away. One reads:   "The U.S. marriage rate—the number of new marriages per 1,000 people—has been falling for decades. It fell especially fast during the recession, in 2008 and 2009, but there’s little evidence that people started getting married again even as the economy recovered. And research firm IbisWorld predicts the marriage rate will keep falling over the next five years." In "Why You’re Being Invited to Fewer Weddings," by Ben Steverman, Bloomberg, 28 July 2017.

          Based on simple, demographic data then, Justice Kennedy might as well have stated factually that the "Nation's social order" has been "falling for decades." His opinion is therefore little more than wishful thinking.

 

 Asserting Assertions Assertively

 

          Too many words in this Wedding Shredding remain undefined and others under-defined, and the "supreme" rationale for same-sex but only limited to two partners is not legally defined either. Thus the decision was not comprehensive, and likely cannot be a long-lived definition of "social order." The next chapters are already being written. 1996 to 2013 was a short time in the life of a nation, and 2013 to 2015 even shorter. After all, if DOMA was discriminatory to same-sex marriage, the Obergefell v. Hodges decision is discriminatory to polygamous families.

          A potential group which could argue discrimination based on Kennedy's unplanned and the New York Times' aptly phrased "magic number two" are the polyamorous. One reads:  " Researchers have estimated that 4 to 5% of Americans practice some form of consensual non-monogamy. A 2014 blog post by Psychology Today revealed that 9.8 million people have agreed to allow satellite lovers in their relationships, which includes poly couples, swinging couples and others practicing sexual non-monogamy. And in Portland – home to swingers’ clubs, the most strip bars per capita, and annual porn festivals – it seems you can’t throw a stone without finding a poly relationship." In "Polyamorous in Portland: the city making open relationships easy," by Melanie Sevcenko, Guardian UK, 19 July 2016.

          The Guardian article  cited just above further notes of a throuple:  "All three are in a 'V' dynamic, with Jeffry as the pivot person. Gaile and Tamela are not romantically or sexually involved; they refer to each other as a metamour – the partner of one’s partner – which is similar to a family bond."

          Discrimination is discrimination. The magic number two based on Kennedy's citation of "love" and of a "keystone of the Nation's social order" is discrimination, because the polyamorous also cite "love" and would easily argue they are also part of the nation's social order.

          Therefore in the words of Justice Kennedy, "individuals who are harmed need not await legislative action before asserting a fundamental right" to polygamous marriage, for the logic is the same, written in words of a Supreme Court decision.  Marriage remains generally undefined, and part of an amorphous and now changing "social order" as well in which the Supreme Court has taken upon itself the right to define words it has as yet not defined in print. A fundamental right is reserved to "two" as "a keystone of the Nation’s social order?" Why two?

          It will prove amusing for "justices" to contend with their own discriminatory two-ness, or further amend the "keystone of a nation's social order" to being any number so desired by a couple-throuple-multiple. Love as a legal concept, anyone?

          Consider that recurring tale when Nemesis met Hubris .

          While Justice Kennedy tramped his way through non-Constitutional notions such as love and family, one finds a parallel in Britain, as one reads:  "The marriage statistics show that more and more people simply aren’t bothering to make any sort of legal commitment at all before setting up home and starting a family. As Lady Justice Hale, now tipped to be boss of the Supreme Court, said in 1982: 'Family law now makes no attempt to buttress the stability of marriage or any other union,' adding 'the piecemeal erosion of the distinction between marriage and non-marital cohabitation may be expected to continue.' And how." In "A fight for equality? No, it's a plot to wipe out marriage," by Peter Hitchens, The Mail on Sunday, 26 February 2017.

          From then until this post-Obergefell v. Hodges era, the "liberal" pretense that the word "marriage" has some defined legal or even ethical definition in society worldwide -- as demonstrated by the many sourced views and opinions above -- is nonsense. This moment has brought Western society to a stuttering cacophony of competing and mutually incompatible stances. All in the name of whatever equality in the mouths of so many who cannot agree on a definition of the term. Blah, blah, blah, and all very "supreme" and "courtly."

 

[ 16 ]  There is a supreme irony in this, because whatever else the Obergefell v. Hodges decision is, it is an assertion that "marriage" is determined at the federal level as a constitutional right. Given the federal grasp and definition -- ongoing, based on other litigation and the surrounding politics thereto -- of what constitutes "marriage," now what constitutes the contractual breaking of the marriage must now logically be also a federal concern.

          It should become a license for amusement aplenty in the coming years. Perhaps now a Supreme Court decision needs to define "love," for this is cited as the basis for marriage by so many in the arguments leading to a historic 5-4 vote defining "marriage." After all, love became a hinge on which Justice Kennedy hung his majority decision.

 

 Finding Liberty with a Ball and Chain

 

          From that decision, one reads:  "The Constitution promises liberty to all within its reach, a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity. The petitioners in these cases seek to find that liberty by marrying someone of the same sex and having their marriages deemed lawful on the same terms and conditions as marriages between persons of the opposite sex."

          The decision then blithely mentions what the New York Times termed the "magic number two." It comes therefore that the five justices who signed on to this decision should explain why "two" is the limitation on "having their marriages deemed lawful on the same terms and conditions."

          This becomes all the clearer when one finds in the same decision:  "No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family." The same assertion holds true for the "union" of three and more, as is being argued per the above assembled quotes.
          If "the Constitution promises liberty to all within its reach," then "persons, within a lawful realm" who number more than two might well "define and express their identity." No rationale for limiting the decision to two was included, and therefore the decision is not wholly clear on the matter of number, as the New York Times correctly notices. Whatever the final outcome of a federal definition of "marriage" as "it is so ordered" by the decision, the problem of "marriage" is not solved, because marriage as a right "within a lawful realm" includes divorce -- the dissolution of said marriage -- within the same lawful realm. What then is the constitutional right and fundamental federal jurisdiction to define "divorce?"

          A dissenting opinion says of the majority argument, it "describes the transcendent importance” of marriage and repeatedly insists that petitioners do not seek to 'demean,' 'devalue,' 'denigrate,' or 'disrespect' the institution." Divorce does that, and divorce law is law too.

          The "transcendent importance" of marriage being disrespected has broken new, same-sex ground. Within a month of the new "social order" ordered by the Supreme Court, the new order unraveled for its first time. One reads:  "Two New Orleans residents, Anna Wellman and Stephanie Baus, who were married in Massachusetts in 2009, divorced in Orleans Parish Civil District Court on Friday, two hours before the first legally sanctioned same-sex wedding." In "First gay divorce comes before first gay marriage in New Orleans," by Christopher Hooton, Independent UK, 1 July 2015.

          Transcendent importance became temporary importance. Perhaps it's not as important as the soaring poetry of Kennedy's majority of five's "highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family" -- including divorce. Isn't it romantic?

          The simple fact is that the Kennedy-written majority decision is simply strong-arm, undemocratic politics, masquerading as if it is not. One reads an opinion noting this:   "Entirely apart from the question of same-sex marriage, the Supreme Court should act quickly to reverse course and restore the Glucksberg standard for finding new fundamental rights. As Justice Kennedy himself noted in Schuette v. Coalation to Defend Affirmative Action, the sensitive, important, or contentious nature of some policy questions 'does not justify removing certain court-determined issues from the voters’ reach.' 'Democracy does not presume that some subjects are either too divisive or too profound for public debate.' The default rule in a democracy ought to be that the people, and not the courts, get to decide." In "Obergefell’s Toxic Judicial Legacy," by Howard Slugh, National Review, 10 April 2017.

          The politics remains in play at a federal level now, and will not disappear from the dockets of court rooms. What marriage was is shredded in favor of a new and likely transitory step. That too is being challenged, sure to further shred the meaning for now that meaning per the Kennedy majority decision has become about further evolution on the notions of liberty, as well as those "highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family," and of course the dissolution of all of those "highest ideals" by divorce law.

 

 As the Joke Goes

 

          As the joke goes, "Marriage is not a word; it is a sentence." It is now a decision of many paragraphs, five in favor and four opposed. One watch for the next installment in this continuing set of cliffhangers. After all, a decision and a sentence can both be overturned.

          As to jurisprudence, the jury's out for prudence.

          The next lawsuits are already in process. It will prove to be profitable for the few, as one reads:  "Attorneys who brought the Ohio lawsuit that led to a Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage want a judge to approve their request for more than $1 million in legal fees and expenses from the state. The attorneys say the request is reasonable because of the difficulty of the case and the importance of the issue. They also argued in a filing Friday for a court-ordered 50 percent enhancement of their $1.1 million request." In "Attorneys seek $1.1 million-plus in gay marriage legal fees," Associated Press, 12 September 2015.

          The public must be made to pay and pay again.

In " 'When I read Justice Kennedy’s decision, I wanted to embroider it on a pillow but wondered if it was a sound legal opinion,' openly gay conservative columnist Guy Benson said at the Conservative Political Action Conference. Benson spoke on a panel which, primarily, focused on the SCOTUS decision. 'This conversation could not be held at a left-wing conference,' he claimed, noting that the Left demands more unanimity of thought, and action, on this issue than does the Right. 'One of the most potent arguments that proponents of same sex marriage had was that it would not affect those who disagree with them but that argument went by the wayside when the political objective was achieved, when it became, 'agree with us or else,' ruining businesses, for example,' Benson said. 'I part company with that.' He calls it 'cultural cronyism'." In "Gay Marriage on the Rocks," by Malcolm A. Kline, Academia, 8 March 2016.

 

[ 17 ]   Whether cultural cronyism or not, people and businesses are being sued over the issues surrounding gay marriage, all the while the survey of varying views of marriage as seen in these addenda and footnotes demonstrates with sourced reports that "gay marriage" or "same sex marriage" no longer has the cultural value that it was supposed to have had.

          Rather it has become just another flavor in the goulash of whatever marriage is now, from one married to one's self, to multiple partners to inanimate objects and more, the Pandora's box has been tipped open and what has spilled from its interior is not what the opinion of Justice Kennedy stated. "These new insights have strengthened, not weakened, the institution."

          Perchance it is become all poppycock. from Pollyanna to polyandry, all tied up with legalese and meaning less and less as time goes by.

 

[ 18 ]  The strange nomenclature in the summary of a pope's waffling about marriage is itself an amusement.  From the number up from "one" to some sort of "magic power in the number two," as questioned Baude in the New York Times, one now formally may add the other logical condition, the null state. The null marriage might be no marriage, while the non-marriage might be a marriage, and this clarity out of the mouth of a pope.

 

 Holy Moly

 

          Another opinion is read:  "On June 16, at a question and answer session during a conference in Rome, Pope Francis implied that those living in 'faithful' cohabitation can have 'the grace of real marriage because of their fidelity.' Contrary to Francis’ claim, however, cohabitation can never carry within it the grace of real marriage, because it is the grave of real marriage." In "Francis Claims Those Who Cohabitate Can Have the 'Grace of a Real Marriage', The Martini Legacy Continues," by John Vennari, Catholic Family News, 19 June 2016.

          In short order the Italian Civil Code shreds the notion of fidelity. One reads:   "The proposed amendment to Italy's Civil Code would remove the word 'fidelity' from Italian marriage contracts. The promise not to cheat is a 'cultural legacy from an outdated and obsolete vision of marriage, family, and the rights and duties of spouses', according to the senators who have signed the bill." In "Soon, married Italians might not have to promise to be faithful," TheLocal.it, 15 December 2016.

          One reaches the delightful end of the road for this supreme -- and Supreme -- fumble, as taken all together the various definitions of marriage come to one end: it is a word without any one clear-cut definition. It is a legal entity and religious statement which includes zero to any number of people depending purely on which individual defines the word, and none have definitively defined it, even in law. The world has no idea what marriage is with no agreement on the definition of the word, and the wedding shredding is complete. Infidelity may now be part of marriage, so what does marriage mean?

 

 Nuts to You, and That's the Truth

 

          One might think on a century old play:  "Right You Are (If You Think So) (Italian: Così è (se vi pare) [koˈzi ˈɛ sse (v)vi ˈpaːre], also translated as It Is So, (If You Think So)) is an Italian drama by Luigi Pirandello. The play is based on Pirandello's novel La signora Frola e il signor Ponza, suo genero. It premiered 18 June 1917 in Milan. The theme is conflicting versions of the truth told by the main characters, each of whom claims the other is insane." In "Right You Are (if you think so)," Wikipedia article, n. d.

          The marriage arguments taken as a survey of human thought demonstrate Pirandello's title. Right you are, if you think so. This allows the logical corollary, Wrong is someone else, if you think they are.

          One may read the last lines of the play for instruction into the many braying jackasses of pompous justice who have offered their conflicting views on how marriage should be defined in law as in theology.

          "Laudisi: 'And there, my friends, you have the truth!' (With a look of derisive defiance at them all): 'Are you satisfied?' He bursts out laughing."

          So should someone laugh? The assumption of a worldwide debate is merely the identification of a worldwide inability to agree on a definition which Justice Kennedy argued was foundational for society. As a building has foundations....

          "Carol says she has 'sex' with the building mentally and identifies herself as an objectum sexual - a person who is sexually attracted to inanimate objects and structures. Carol didn't discover this until she was 40 after she searched online 'I am in love with a building.' It is a worldwide debate whether the phenomenon is a sexuality, fetish or mental condition." In "Woman 'marries' train station she's loved for 36 years and ,has sex with mentally'," by Candice Fernandez, Mirror UK, 25 May 2017.

          Wedding shredding is complete, for such is this modern age in which nothing means anything, and everything means something to fight about, because "Right you are, if you think so." And then one "bursts out laughing."

          The simple answer to this modern, postmodern conundrum lies waiting patiently for discovery....

 


 

Bold bad beard

Bold bad beard was an angry old grump,
And an angry old grump was he;
He called for a death, and he called for it loud
And he called for it mercilessly.
Every killer? He has his reason,
And a very fine season, you see;
Oh what a human game, they all compare
With bad beard's murderous spree.

 

Addendum of the Model:   " 'Old King Cole' is a British nursery rhyme most likely deriving from ancient Welsh. The historical identity
of King Cole has been much debated and several candidates have been advanced as possibilities." In "Old King Cole," Wikipedia, n. d.

 

Addendum of a Possibility:    "The Satanic Verses controversy, also known as the Rushdie Affair, was the heated and frequently violent  reaction of Muslims to the publication of Salman Rushdie's novel The Satanic Verses, which was first  published in the United Kingdom in 1988. Many Muslims accused Rushdie of blasphemy or unbelief and in 1989 Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini of Iran issued a fatwa ordering Muslims to kill Rushdie. Numerous  killings, attempted killings, and bombings resulted from Muslim anger over the novel." In "The Satanic Verses controversy," Wikipedia, n. d.    [ 1 ]

 

Addendum of Another Possibility:    "The latest Arab Israeli war presents a conundrum for many Sunni Jihadists. On the one hand, a chance to join in the resistance against the Jewish state presents a rare opportunity for zealots who revere the Palestinian Arab martyrs that have sacrificed their lives to kill Jewish civilians. But the main group doing the fighting, and instigating the war this time in Lebanon, are supported by the same Shiite state that supplies and funds the militias killing Sunni civilians in Iraq. 'I think that fatwas like Jebreen's are significant, because the division between Sunnis and Shia is more apparent than in the past,'   [ 2 ]   the director of the SITE Institute, a group that tracks the online Jihad community, Rita Katz, said yesterday. Mr. Jebreen retired two years ago from Saudi Arabia's government committee approving fatwas. Ms. Katz says he is considered one of the most respected and more mainstream Wahhabi clerics in Saudi Arabia." In "L eading Saudi Sheik Pronounces Fatwa Against Hezbollah," by Eli Lake, The Sun (NY), 20 July 2006.

 

Addendum of Yet Another Possibility:   "A recent fatwa issued by Iran’s supreme leader banning insults to Prophet Muhammad’s wife Aisha will not help ease tensions with the Islamic Republic's Sunni-Arab neighbors, experts say. Mohamed Megahed al- Zayat, vice-director of the National Center for Middle East Studies, argues that the fatwa is politically motivated and will therefore fail to elicit a positive response from the region's Sunni-Arab masses. 'It's not a general fatwa for everybody-- it's not aimed at the Iranians themselves,' he said. 'It targets the Arabs'." In "Experts: Iran fatwa on Prophet's wife will not bridge Sunni-Shia divide," by Ahmed Zaki Osman, Egypt Independent, 10 April 2010.

 

Addendum of Still Another Possibility:  "Khamenei describes Israel as 'a cancerous tumor' whose elimination would mean that 'the West's hegemony and threats will be discredited' in the Middle East. In its place, he boasts, 'the hegemony of Iran will be promoted.' Khamenei’s book also deals with the Holocaust which he regards either as 'a propaganda ploy' or a disputed claim. 'If there was such a thing,' he writes, 'we don’t know why it happened and how.' This is what Iran's leaders are preaching to their people and their allies in the Middle East." In "Iran publishes book on how to outwit US and destroy Israel," by Amir Taheri, NYPost, 1 August 2015.

 

Addendum of More Possibilities:   "...it was incumbent on all Muslims to try to keep inter Muslim unity and no dispute between different Islamic sects should be allowed to harm the unity of Islamic ummah. Tayyib also noted that Egypt has ever been at the forefront of every initiative for Muslim unity. Western media have kept mum on the Fatwa." In "Unity Between Shia and Sunni on Imam Khamenei's Fatwa," Rohama, 3 October 2010.   [ 3 ]

 

Addendum of Proliferating Possibilities:   "The proliferation of fatwa websites in Saudi Arabia has been criticized by King Abdullah and senior Saudi  clerics, who have sought to regulate such activities. The king and the religious authorities warn that many are  directed by self-designated Islamic jurists without credentials, and announce their opinions on whim and a  desire for publicity. Unlike Christianity, Islam – except for Wahhabism – does not encourage free-lance  preaching by unschooled, 'inspired' individuals usurping clerical titles. Even the Deobandis stress a rigorous  Islamic education, however deviant their beliefs." In "Fatwa Fanatics – The Deobandi-Wahhabi Lust for Control Over Personal Life," by Stephen Schwartz and Irfan Al-Alawi, Millat Times [India], 11 March 2013.    [ 4 ]

 

Addendum of a Declaration of War:   " 'What is happening to our brothers on Syrian soil, in terms of violence stemming from the Iranian regime, Hezbollah and its sectarian allies, counts as a declaration of war on Islam and the Muslim community in general,' Hassan said." In "Sunni clerics issue fatwa calling for all forms of Jihad in Syria," Middle East Online, 13 June 2013.

 

Addendum of a Call to Arms:   "Iraq's most senior Shia cleric has issued a call to arms after Sunni-led insurgents seized more towns. The call by a representative of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani came as the militants widened their grip in the north and east, and threatened to march south, towards Baghdad." In "Iraq conflict: Shia cleric Sistani issues call to arms," BBC, 13 June 2014.    [ 5 ]

 

Addendum of Fences against Jihadi Escalation:   "As they confront the rising threat of modern jihadist violence, many of the nations most at risk are retreating behind one of the oldest forms of defense. Tunisia and Turkey are the latest to invest in border barriers, both announcing the plans in the immediate aftermath of attacks on civilian targets. A fence and watchtowers will guard Tunisia’s border with Libya, where the militants who killed foreign tourists on a Tunisian beach are said to have been trained. Turkey said late Wednesday it will fortify the border with Syria after a suicide bomb in a nearby town. From Morocco to Saudi Arabia, boundaries are being fortified at a rate not seen since the months following the Sept. 11 attacks." In "Fences Rise Across Middle East as Jihadi Threat Escalates," by Salma El Wardany and Caroline Alexander, Bloomberg, 22 July 2015.    [ 6 ]

 

Addendum of the Fatwa Against Chess:   "A fatwa issued by Saudi Arabia's top cleric prohibiting chess in Islam and equating it with gambling has caused a stir on social media. In a video of a television programme posted online, Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz al-Sheikh appears categorical when asked about the board game in Islam. 'Chess is prohibited. It is gambling,' said Sheikh, insisting that it was a 'waste of time and money and a cause for animosity between players'." In "Saudi fatwa banning chess stirs online outcry," Agence France Presse, 22 January 2016.

 

 

Saudi side of the Saudi Arabian border with Iraq

 

Addendum All-a-Twitter:   "Iran's supreme leader tweeted a graphic Saturday that appears to depict President Obama holding a gun to his head as Britain relaxed its travel advice to the nation, citing decreased hostility under the Iranian government. 'US president has said he could knock out Iran’s military. We welcome no war, nor do we initiate any war, but..' reads the caption above the tweet sent by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on @khamenei_ir, his English language account." In "Iranian leader tweets graphic of Obama with gun to head," by Katharine Lackey, USA Today, 25 July 2015.

 

 

Addendum of the Bitter Truth:   "The undated document, titled 'A Brief History of the Islamic State Caliphate (ISC), The Caliphate According to the Prophet,' seeks to unite dozens of factions of the Pakistani and Afghan Taliban into a single army of terror. It includes a never-before-seen history of the Islamic State, details chilling future battle plans, urges al-Qaeda to join the group and says the Islamic State's leader should be recognized as the sole ruler of the world’s 1 billion Muslims under a religious empire called a 'caliphate.' 'Accept the fact that this caliphate will survive and prosper until it takes over the entire world and beheads every last person that rebels against Allah,' it proclaims. 'This is the bitter truth, swallow it'." In "Islamic State recruitment document seeks to provoke 'end of the world'," by Sara A. Carter, American Media Institute via USA Today, 28 July 2015.   [ 7 ]

 

Addendum of Beard against Beard:    "Ayman al-Zawahiri, the Egyptian doctor who replaced Osama bin Laden as the head of al Qaeda four years ago, in a new audio message accused ISIS top leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi of 'sedition' and insisted the Iraqi terrorist recluse was not the leader of all Muslims and militant jihad as 'caliph' of the Islamic State, as al-Baghdadi had claimed 14 months ago in a Mosul mosque." In "Al Qaeda Leader Al-Zawahiri Declares War on ISIS 'Caliph' Al-Baghdadi," by James Gordon Meek, ABC News, 10 September 2015.   [ 8 ]

 

   

 

Addendum of Saudi Beard against ISIS Beard:   "Saudi Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz has claimed that the Islamic State (Daesh) militants are Israeli soldiers and the Saudi-led 34-nation military alliance of Islamic countries will defeat it. The statement came after Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, the secretive leader of the terror group, called for an uprising in Saudi Arabia and pledged to attack Israel, in an audio recording released Saturday and attributed to him, AFP reported." In "IS militants are Israeli soldiers: Saudi grand mufti," by News Desk, Express Tribune (Pakistan), 28 December 2015.

 

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]    The translation of the fatwa: "We are from Allah and to Allah we shall return. I am informing all brave Muslims of the world that the author of The Satanic Verses, a text written, edited, and published against Islam, the Prophet of Islam, and the Qur'an, along with all the editors and publishers aware of its contents, are condemned to death. I call on all valiant Muslims wherever they may be in the world to kill them without delay, so that no one will dare insult the sacred beliefs of Muslims henceforth. And whoever is killed in this cause will be a martyr, Allah Willing. Meanwhile if someone has access to the author of the book but is incapable of carrying out the execution, he should inform the people so that [Rushdie] is punished for his actions. Rouhollah al-Mousavi al-Khomeini."

          One reads that oddly Khoumeini assisted enormously in the marketing, sales and popularity of the book:   "Although British bookseller W.H. Smith sold 'a mere hundred copies a week of the book in mid-January 1989', it 'flew off the shelves' following the fatwa. In America it sold an 'unprecedented' five times more copies than the number two book, Star by Danielle Steel, selling more than 750,000 copies of the book by May 1989. B. Dalton, a bookstore chain that decided not to stock the book for security reasons, changed its mind when it found the book 'was selling so fast that even as we tried to stop it, it was flying off the shelves'. Rushdie earned about $2 million within the first year of the book's publication, and the book is Viking's all-time best seller."

          Among the deaths of various translators at the hands of supposedly "brave Muslims," one finds Khomeini's own son added to the tally of deaths connected with this imam.  One reads:   "...as the regime and the opposition both fight to be Khomeini’s rightful inheritors, the real deciders are Khomeini’s own family members--often referred to as Beit-e-Imam. In Shi’ite tradition, these relatives are considered the guardians and true interpreters of an imam’s thoughts. And in Khomeini’s case, surprisingly, they are disproportionately supporting Mousavi and the opposition. Khomeini’s son Ahmad was a strong critic of the Iranian regime after his father’s death. Six years after Khamenei became supreme leader, Ahmad made a blunt speech expressing his views; a month later, he passed away suspiciously at age 49." In "Khamenei vs. Khomeini," by Ali Reza Eshraghi, New Republic, 20 August 2009. So the "founder" of the Iranian regime had family opposing the Iranian regime, for such seems the politics of religion, as the religion of politics.

          Khomeini (d. 1989) and his son (d. 2009) are gone, while the fatwa which has not been canceled against Rushdie has not resulted as of the summer of 2015 in Rushdie's murder by "all brave Muslims." Apparently Khomeini did not speak for "all brave Muslims" as history's years continue this lingering tale of murder ordered and not yet carried out.

          But that single fatwa became a marketing triumph for booksellers, quite the opposite of the intention. Consider the equal-and-opposite mathematics of Oh, what a tangled web we weave .

          And so one reads an opinion in 2015:  " 'Extremism constitutes an attack against the Western world as much as against Muslims themselves,' Rushdie told L'Express. 'Keeping silent does not help Muslims.... Fighting extremism is not fighting Islam. To the contrary, it defends it'." In "Salman Rushdie Says 'Wrong Lessons' Learned from His Iran Fatwa Ordeal," Agence France-Presse, 22 July 2015.

          The counterpoint of 2015 to the dead "eternal" leader of the new Iranian state is: this:  "Rushdie, 68, has lived since 2000 in the United States and was knighted in Britain in 2007."

          For another insight into Khomeini's interesting legal views on some forms of sexuality, see:  Celebrate Diversity? .

          Another Iranian cleric, less the celebrity than Khomeini was known to criticize the Iranian government, as did Khomeini's son:  "Tens of thousands of anti-regime protestors marched through the streets of Iran's holy city of Qom on Monday. They had gathered for the funeral procession of Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, the most senior of the regime's critics, who had died in his sleep Sunday at the age of 87. The event reportedly turned into the largest civil protest since those that followed the contested re-election in June of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, which left an unknown number of protestors dead. In Monday's demonstration, protestors chanted 'death to the dictator' and carried slogans voicing their support for the opposition leaders to whom Montazeri had given his support." In " Iran's Regime 'Has Every Reason to Be Worried'," by Josh Ward, Spiegel, 22 December 2009.

          Spiegel cites another German source as regards the theocratic domination of Iran today: "Today, Ali Khamenei rules like a dictator. Montazeri was what we in the West hope for in a public intellectual." From the Iranian revolution to today's Iranian government, one finds that politics, as usual, brings in the Moolah . That is what this has all been about, control over others and control over wealth. So the Shah, toppled in the revolution, was a dictator, and fast forward through some decades, "like a dictator" remains the theme.

          Such a dictatorship through its state-run entities renews the fatwa, showing that a national threat against a citizen of another country is the behavior of this nation. One reads: "Forty state-run Iranian media outlets have jointly offered a new $600,000 bounty for the death of British Indian author Salman Rushdie, according to the state-run Fars News Agency." In "Salman Rushdie: Iranian state media renew fatwa on Satanic Verses author with $600,000 bounty," by Samuel Osborne, Independent UK, 21 February 2016.

          Were all the nations and cultures of this world to emulate the Iranian "renewal," it is assured that those who make such demands will run and hide, claiming it "unfair."

          As a related policy, Iran is apparently offering rewards for other forms of attack.  One reads:  "Speaking at a press conference in Beirut on Wednesday, with the participation of several leaders of Palestinian factions, Iranian ambassador to Lebanon, Mohammad Fathali, said: 'Continuing Iran's support for the oppressed Palestinian people, Iran announces the provision of financial aid to families of Palestinian martyrs who were killed in the 'Jerusalem intifada.' According to the ambassador, every family of a martyr will receive $7,000, while a family whose home was demolished by the IDF will receive $30,000. The aid will be conveyed through the Palestinian branch of the Shahid Institution, which was established in Iran in 1992'." In "Iran offers financial reward for families of potential Palestinian 'intifada martyrs'," by Maayan Groisman, Jerusalem Post, 24 February 2016.

          With a stated foreign policy of supporting attacks against other nations and individuals outside the borders of Iran, it demonstrates a willingness to conduct war by proxy against individuals and groups. Such is the nature of this "civilization."

 

[ 2 ]     The "division between Sunni and Shia is more apparent than in the past?"  A review of the division" is worth noting, and for this consider Islamophobia revisited  - a thumbnail sketch of tolerance and inter-religious dialogues. Karbala and forward through history, the division has been apparent. More apparent today than the Iran-Iraq war lasting ten years, as Saddam Hussein's Baathist government fought Khomeini's new "republic?"

          A Saudi cleric's fatwa against Hezbollah is certainly the sign of a "division." This is the point. While so many assert that they speak for Islam, such speakers have disagreed with each other for centuries.

 

[ 3 ]     The "unity" is asserted, even commanded via a fatwa among so many fatwas, and yet goes unheeded for the "divisions" as noted above. When all speak for Islam and define it in their various ways, no one authoritative voice can speak for "all" without dismissing other voices as inauthentic, if not accusing other voices as apostates. Infidel is such an easy word to employ, sharpened and immediately corrosive to "unity."

 

[ 4 ]     A proliferation of fatwa websites? Fatwas against non-Muslims as against other Muslims suggest that the concept of fatwa linked to the concept of "unity" among warring sects within Islam clarifies the reality of that so-called unity which is demonstrably disunity accompanied by calls to war, calls to arms, calls to kill Muslims and non-Muslims.

          One might consider the naive expression being found in Western media as spilling blithely from the mouths of Western politicians, as they chatter on about The religion of peace .

 

[ 5 ]   One reads for greater detail about another fatwa:  "The Iranian-born cleric Ayatollah Ali Sistani, Iraq’s most influential religious leader, has issued a fatwa to 'all able-bodied Iraqis' to defend the country, days after the radical Sunni Islamist group ISIS captured the city of Mosul and advanced south toward Baghdad, the capital. Sistani, a Shia who worships in the holy city of Najaf, is considered one of Iraq’s most respected leaders. His fatwa, or religious ruling, is expected to galvanize a significant movement from within Iraq’s majority-Shia population. Al-Sistani is, after all, the most influential voice for Iraq's estimated 20 million Shia faithful." In "Why Ayatollah Al-Sistani's Iraq Fatwa Is So Important," by Matt Schiavenza, International Business Times, 13 June 2014.

          Though a Western coalition warred with and toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein, the Obama administration declared an end of the war in Iraq and withdrew coalition forces from Iraq in 2012. Two years later, this fatwa by Sistani became necessary "to defend the country" from "the radical Sunni Islamist group ISIS." War in what was Iraq continues unabated.

          The article notes an odd thing: "Although Sistani called on all able-bodied Iraqi men, regardless of religious affiliation, to join the fight against ISIS, his fatwa may actually exacerbate the sectarian tensions that have plagued the country. Hardin Lang, a Middle East expert at the Center for American Progress, believes that the fatwa will resonate with the Shia population, while Sunni Iraqis will largely ignore it."

          Islam. Division beneath the pose of and call for unity. Fatwas calling for murderous violence against each other as well as against non-Muslims. Fatwas ignored. This reality is the historic tale, from Karbala forward. Schism seems the common law of man, from religions to secular governance.

 

[ 6 ]    Fences are to keep some out, and others in. One reads in the article: "The builders have often been spurred by fear of Islamic State, after its conquests in Iraq and Syria and the group’s ability to inspire Muslim extremists elsewhere, or concern over failed or failing nations next door. The jihadist group has built its own walls to fend off attackers and keep people from escaping, including around the Iraqi cities of Tal Afar and Mosul."

          How interesting is the common feature of tyrannical government, that it must "keep people from escaping." This has been a societal truth for centuries, and in this supposedly modern era of enlightenment one finds still that for freedom and from tyranny people have Fled from empty market shelves - a history lesson.  This time it wears Islamic garb, but it has worn other political garments as easily.

          As to the "unity," one might recall one of many examples of such a unity. "The Iran–Iraq War was an armed conflict between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Republic of Iraq lasting from September 1980 to August 1988, making it the 20th century's longest conventional war." In "Iran-Iraq War," Wikipedia, n. d. The article notes:  "The war cost both sides in lives and economic damage: half a million Iraqi and Iranian soldiers, with an equivalent number of civilians, are believed to have died, with many more injured; however, the war brought neither reparations nor changes in borders. The conflict has been compared to World War I."

          Somehow, given an estimated 500,000 Iranian and Iraqi soldiers and an estimated 500,000 "equivalent number of civilians" dead in a ten-year period and the ongoing ISIS war against other Muslims in the Iraq of today, it seems that fences guarded by a military between Muslim nations is a necessity for the so-called "unity" of the ummah.

 

[ 7 ]     If only these "Islamic radicals" would heed the words of non-Muslim, self-proclaiming enlightened Western voices cheering for The religion of peace .

 

[ 8 ]    Call if you know which caliph

          Is the caliph-flowered beard.

          Don't you know? You're not sure?

          That's what they both have feared.

          One says the other's lying,

          So in this lies their lie.

          Which one is it? Logic asks.

          We'll find out, by and by.

          Is it one, or the other one?

          Maybe both, who knows?

          Meanwhile Muslims die for them

          As the bloody tide so shows.

          False beard, fake beard,

          Which beard will be killed?

          One, it's sure, in all the world --

          As another beard is stilled.


 

A sameness in the story

" 'Everybody moans but nobody offers any solutions. The quality of life has really gone down. I’m sorry to say it, but I just want to leave Rome and move somewhere else.' The city was hit by a major corruption scandal earlier this year which explained, in part, why public services are so shoddy. An investigation found that corrupt local politicians had colluded with criminal gangs to cream off money from a range of services, from rubbish collection to the management of refugee facilities." In "Rome is on the verge of collapse and needs urgent repair, leaders warn," by Nick Squires, Telegraph UK, 16 July 2015.

 

There's a sameness in the story,
From place to place, unchanged,
From time to time, the hoary
                Ever changeless rearranged.
The cast of players comes and goes,
All roles yet ever filled,
And on and on the same old woes:
                Sweet stolen cream is swilled.
The tune's a shriek, a lilt, a croon.
Interchangeable, varying barely.
Long drones the tired, tireless tune
                Which circles, cycles squarely.
That adjective wide weds its noun;
Political to corruption ties the knot.
The two collude, collide, and crown
                The story, that tune, their juggernaut.
So many prance to this one jolly tune,
And read from that old, modern script.
Earlier times like today were strewn
                As political corruption's froth was whipped.
The sameness of the tale is greased
And slippery are its players,
From age to age it has not ceased,
                Rewritten by predatory betrayers.

 

Addendum with a Historical Bent:   "The topic of municipal corruption harkens back to an older political science literature examining corrupt Machine Era governments and Progressive attempts to reform them. As the account goes, late 19th century southern and eastern Europeans used their organizational skills and growing numbers to create urban political 'machines' in a number of important immigration portal cities. Using a variety of tactics, immigrants filled a power void in American municipal government to assemble and perpetuate political machines. According to Judd and Swanstrom (2002), 'the major types of graft in American cities involved handing out lucrative franchises, setting highly profitable utility rates, authority over the city’s police power . . . , and the control of public works'. Neighborhoods that turned out to support the machine typically received the best services, jobs and contracts, while opponents were either ignored or punished. So-called 'spoils systems' operated in cities such as Boston, Chicago, Kansas City, and Philadelphia. Probably the most infamous was New York’s Tammany Hall – led by William M. 'Boss' Tweed – that helped Irish immigrants consolidate political and economic power through the city’s powerful Democratic Party." In "Predator State: Corruption in a Council-Manager System --The Case of Bell, California," by Tom Hogen-Esch, California State University Northridge, Chapman University, 19 February 2015.

 

See the tale:   Three Little Democrats 

 

Addendum with a Federal Outlook:   "Public corruption poses a fundamental threat to our national security and way of life. It impacts everything from how well our borders are secured and our neighborhoods protected…to verdicts handed down in courts…to the quality of our roads, schools, and other government services. And it takes a significant toll on our pocketbooks, wasting billions in tax dollars every year." In "Public Corruption," Federal Bureau of Investigation, site accessed July 2015.

 

Consider just a few of the United States of America's tales of  Corruption 

 

Addendum of Theories:   "There is no consensus in the corruption literature (theoretical or empirical) regarding the relationship between the size of government and the corruption scourge. The two competing theories can be resumed this way: 1. inherently corrupt or self-interested politicians are the rule; corruption will mechanically increase with the amount of public spending. 2. Accountability will trickle down from voters’ concern with the use of higher taxes." In "Public Sector Size and Corruption: Evidence from 290 Swedish Municipalities," by Andreas Bergh, Günther Fink, Richard Öhrvall," IFN Working Paper No.938, 2012, October 2012.   [ 1 ]

 

Addendum of  State Capture and Administrative Corruption:  "The World Bank has distinguished between two broad categories of corruption: State capture: actions by individuals, groups or organizations in the public and private sectors to influence policy formation to their advantage by illegally transferring private benefits to public officials; and Administrative corruption: the use of the same type of illegal transfers by the same actors to interfere with the proper implementation of laws, rules and regulations. A similar distinction can be made between 'grand corruption', involving elected and appointed officials at the top of government, and 'petty corruption', involving employees further down the governmental hierarchy who may, for example, profit personally from the sale of licences." In "Municipal 'Best Practices': Preventing Fraud, Bribery and Corruption," by Elizabeth Anderson, International Centre for Criminal Law Reform and Criminal Justice Policy, March 2013.   [ 2 ]

 

Addendum of One Example of Many Municipalities:   "Three quarters of Mexico's municipalities are vulnerable to infiltration and corruption by organized crime, according to a top Mexican official, in a sign of the challenges authorities face in attempts to stamp out corruption. The claim was made by the head of legal affairs at Mexico’s Interior Ministry (SEGOB), David Arellano Cuan during a public hearing before Mexico's senate, which is currently debating the proposed implementation of 'mando unico' or 'single command.' Mando unico aims to curtail local corruption by temporarily handing municipal police responsibilities to Mexico's 32 state police departments. The initiative would require modification of the country's constitution." In "75% of Mexico Municipalities Susceptible to Organized Crime: Official," by Arron Daugherty, In Sight Crime, Organized Crime in the Americas, 23 January 2015.

 

Addendum of The Chicago Way:  "The Chicago law firm comes to Berrios to lower the property assessments on hundreds of properties across the city and suburbs each year, saving some of its clients as much as $100,000 or more in property taxes as a result. Since September 2009, when he launched his first campaign for assessor, Berrios' campaign funds have gotten $60,900 in contributions from employees of Crane and Norcross, records show. The funds he controls have gotten another $29,100 from Madison Appraisal, a firm Crane and Norcross often uses to compile the data it submits to persuade Berrios to lower property assessments. Now, Berrios has hired a Crane family member as his chief deputy assessor — Christopher M. Crowley, the founder of Madison Appraisal. Crowley’s uncle, Michael Crane, heads Crane and Norcross. Crowley’s sister and father work for the law firm. Crowley — the only applicant for the $144,337-a-year job." In "Assessor Berrios gave key job to top tax lawyer's nephew," by Tim Novak, Chris Fusco and Max Rust, Chicago Sun Times, 1 August 2015.    [ 3 ]

 

See only a few of the many instances from around the world:  Corruption has a middle name 

 

NOTES

 

[ 1 ] That there are two competing theories seems quite the academic point-of-view. Likely both are true as one surveys the enormous storied evidence, that indeed "inherently corrupt or self-interested politicians are the rule," and also voters eventually become concerned "with the use of higher taxes" to gain wealth for the unending greed of the corrupt.

          It may be that as transparency increases and more "public servant" corruption -- the legal as well as the illegal -- comes to be known, one will consistently see government as easily corrupted, such that the ideal of transparent government behind which corrupt politicians can no longer hide will become the next great political movement. One may also count that such a movement will be resisted by the corrupt in and aligned with government.

 

[ 2 ]   As with the theories cited above, these categories of "legal corruption" -- state capture and administrative corruption -- and other categories by degree -- grand and petty -- all come to the same point. Political machinations via vehicles of government are often applied as corrupt practices. Thus, indeed the adjective "political" is so often wedded to "corruption," as corrupt politicians reversed the role of adjective and noun but tells that same tale. It is a tale of sheer, mere, drear Politics  .

 

[ 3 ]  "Here’s a list of all the Berrioses on the public payroll, and how much they earned, as of late last year. Joe Berrios, Cook County Assessor: $125,000; Carmen Berrios (sister), Deputy Assessor: $107,841; Erasmo Berrios (brother), retired highway maintenance worker, Illinois Department of Transportation: $86,189 pension; Toni Berrios (daughter), Illinois state representative, $74,569; Miguel Berrios (brother), highway maintainer, Illinois Department of Transportation: $73,020; Vanessa Berrios (daughter), manager of industrial and commercial valuations, Assessor’s Office: $72,444; Joey Berrios (son), manager of residential field, Assessor’s Office: $72,444; Maria Elena Cruz (sister), retired principal, Moos Elementary: $67,995 pension; George Berrios (brother), mechanical assistant, Cook County Department of Facilities Management: $67,828; Hector Berrios (brother), toll collector, Illinois State Toll Highway Authority, $60,894; Maria Berrios (sister-in-law), deputy member, Cook County Board of Review: $57,109; Erasmo Berrios (nephew), administrative assistant, Cook County Department of Environmental Control: $56,442; Wilfredo Cruz (brother-in-law), deputy member, Cook County Board of Review, $52,122; Stephen Berrios (nephew), law clerk, Office of the Chief Judge, Cook County: $44,655; George Erasmo Berrios Jr (nephew), executive assistant, Illinois Secretary of State: $39,996. Overall, various Berrioses are collecting $1,058,548 in public pensions and salaries each year." In "Opinion: Berrios Family Owes Us $529,000," by Edward McClelland, NBC Chicago, 18 July 2015.


 

Trust rusts

Entropy = (Boltzmann's constant k) x logarithm of number of possible states
= k log(N)

Trust rusts;
        trust busts.
Must trust
        bust? Just.

 

Lies vie;
        lies die.
Why? My
        sighs cry.

 

Envoi:   "...Mozart, not long after writing The Magic Flute, had died--in his thirties--of kidney disease. And had been buried in an unmarked pauper's grave. Thinking this, he wondered if Mozart had any intuition that the future did not exist, that he had already used up his little time. Maybe I have too, Rick thought as he watched the rehearsal move along. This rehearsal will end, the performance will end, the singers will die, eventually the last score of the music will be destroyed in one way or another; finally the name 'Mozart' will vanish, the dust will have won. If not on this planet then another. We can evade it awhile. As the andys can evade me and exist a finite stretch longer. But I will get them or some other bounty hunter gets them. In a way, he realized, I'm part of the form-destroying process of entropy.” In "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" Philip K. Dick, Doubleday, 1968.

 

Addendum:   "Just because something bears the aspect of the inevitable one should not, therefore, go along willingly with it." In "The Transmigration of Timothy Archer," Philip K. Dick, Timescape Books/Simon and Schuster, 1982.

 

Addendum of Evidence:   "...these days, there's something missing that is even more important than reform for growth: trust. Voters don't trust what we can loosely call the financial establishment — Wall Street, Paul Krugman, the Federal Reserve, the universities. You can pinpoint the moment that financial trust was lost in America: Sept. 17, 2008, the day the government bailed out American Insurance Group after not bailing out Lehman Brothers in the same week. The sheer arbitrariness of the bailout policy was even worse than the fact of the bailouts. And the Obama administration locked in the trend by continuing where President George W. Bush left off." In "Trump Evidence Of Voters' Lack Of Trust In Financial Establishment," by Amity Shlaes, Investors, 9 September 2015.

 

Addendum of America's Declining Social Capital:   "In the established democracies, ironically, growing numbers of citizens are questioning the effectiveness of their public institutions at the very moment when liberal democracy has swept the battlefield, both ideologically and geopolitically. In America, at least, there is reason to suspect that this democratic disarray may be linked to a broad and continuing erosion of civic engagement that began a quarter-century ago. High on our scholarly agenda should be the question of whether a comparable erosion of social capital may be under way in other advanced democracies, perhaps in different institutional and behavioral guises. High on America's agenda should be the question of how to reverse these adverse trends in social connectedness, thus restoring civic engagement and civic trust." In "Bowling Alone: America's Declining Social Capital," by Robert D. Putnam, Journal of Democracy 6.1 (1995).

 

 Addendum of Declining Trust in Fraudulent Science:   Dr. Richard Horton, Editor-in-chief of the Lancet recently published a statement declaring that a shocking amount of published research is unreliable at best, if not completely false, as in, fraudulent. Horton declared, “Much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness.” To state the point in other words, Horton states bluntly that major pharmaceutical companies falsify or manipulate tests on the health, safety and effectiveness of their various drugs by taking samples too small to be statistically meaningful or hiring test labs or scientists where the lab or scientist has blatant conflicts of interest such as pleasing the drug company to get further grants. At least half of all such tests are worthless or worse he claims. As the drugs have a major effect on the health of millions of consumers, the manipulation amounts to criminal dereliction and malfeasance."   In  "Shocking Report from Medical Insiders," by F. William Engdahl, Journal-neo.org, 18 June 2016.

 

 Addendum of Severe Distrust:   "Only 6 percent of people say they have a great deal of confidence in the press, about the same level of trust Americans have in Congress, according to a new survey released on Sunday. The study mirrors past reports that found the public’s trust in mass media has reached historic lows, according to data gathered by the Media Insight Project, a partnership between The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and the American Press Institute. The report found faith in the press was just slightly higher than the 4 percent of people who said they trusted Congress." In "Hardly Anyone Trusts The Media Anymore," by Nick Visser, Huffington Post, 18 April 2016.

 

 Addendum of Fooling the Public:   "By August 12, the ECB had handed out over €16 billion in freshly printed money in exchange for corporate bonds. Throughout, the public was given to understand that the ECB was buying already-issued bonds trading in secondary markets. But the public has been fooled. Now it has been revealed by The Wall Street Journal that the ECB has also secretly been buying bonds directly from companies, thus handing them directly its freshly printed money." In "Revealed: ECB Secretly Hands Cash to Select Corporations," by Don Quijones, Wolf Street, 22 August 2016.

 

 Addendum of Fact Skewing:   "A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that just 29% of all Likely U.S. Voters trust media fact-checking of candidates’ comments. Sixty-two percent (62%) believe instead that news organizations skew the facts to help candidates they support." In "Voters Don’t Trust Media Fact-Checking," Rasmussen Reports, 30 September 2016.

 

  Addendum of Astounding Cynicism:     "Nearly two-thirds (64%) of the American public have little to no confidence that 'the government in Washington' will actually solve the problems it sets its mind to. We asked this question in 1996 and found much the same — the figure was 60 percent two decades ago. 26 The difference is that, 20 years on, the attitudes have hardened: Where 21 percent of the American population said they had no confidence at all in 1996, that figure jumped to 30 percent in 2016. The cynicism about the government is astonishing." In "The Vanishing Center of American Democracy," by James Davison Hunter and Carl Desportes Bowman, Advanced Studies in Culture Foundation, 2016.    [ 1 ]

 

 Addendum of Historical Roots:   " 'When you think about the beginning of the country, it was all about throwing off the shackles of the English monarchy,' says Vanderbilt University political science professor Marc Hetherington, who wrote the book Why Trust Matters: Declining Political Trust and the Demise of American Liberalism. 'We set up institutions that were designed to cut down on people imposing their will on ordinary folks,' he adds. 'Given those circumstances, it's not surprising that we've had a legacy of distrust or mistrust of government ever since the beginning'." In "Distrusting Government: As American As Apple Pie," by Ari Shapiro, Atlantic, 19 April 2010.    [ 2 ]

 

Consider that trust rusts and social capital declines because the  Lying continues -  government flexing its sinews

 

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]  The academic astonishment is astonishing. One reads about endemic Corruption and makes appropriate, fact-informed opinions. That these opinions might reflect demonstrable proof rather than empty-headed opinion that Politics has at its center corruption costing society plenty should not be "astonishing."  Trust rusts.

          The study notes:  "Disaffection from the governing institutions of a social order can be seen as fairly abstract and the influences of the large-scale organizations as powerful, but still remote from everyday life. Yet Americans experience these concerns very personally. We have seen how strong majorities of Americans believe that politicians and leaders in business, the media, education and technology don’t care about ordinary people like them; that these leaders and the institutions they represent serve primarily themselves, not average people or the common good. We also know that these tendencies in public opinion are now broadly if not deeply etched into American self-understanding. It is not surprising that a significant minority — nearly four out of ten Americans (38%) — agree that 'these days, I feel like a stranger in my own country'."

          Indeed, "it is not surprising." Neither should it be "astonishing."

 

[ 2 ]  That there are "American" historical roots to the distrust of government is only one frame in a larger picture. Other nations have had their revolutions, and yet after many revolutions, the sclerosis of despotic, corrupt government sets in again.

          Worldwide, the picture is clear.  One reads:  "The largest-ever global survey on corruption by Transparency International, which surveyed more than 114,000 respondents in 107 countries, found that over half the respondents said corruption had worsened over the last two years. The survey comes at a time of increased public anger against the perceived corruption and self-interest of governments, from Brazil to Egypt and Turkey. It revealed a deep distrust of political leaders. In 51 countries around the world political parties were seen as the most corrupt institution and 55 percent of respondents thought government was run by special interests. 'Around the world, political parties, the driving force of democracies, are perceived to be the most corrupt institution,' the report said." In "Corruption Worsens Amid Deep Distrust of Government," by Holly Ellyatt, CNBC, 9 July 2013.

          It should not be surprising that "party" interests come first for party members, and all too often this results in diktats issued on behalf of "special interests," which unsurprisingly turn out to be an elite few. "Throwing off the shackles" of an elite few usually results in swift and often harsh reaction from such an elite. So are political parties "the driving force of democracies?" Then the driving force drives most often towards corruption.


 

Bankrupt riches - the data snitches

Bankrupt riches,
    Baits and switches:
How do the well-off do?
Quite well; pity,
A bankrupt city
    Acts as rich avenue.
A public servant,
Not observant,
    Pockets a pile of pay.
Such is the nature,
The nomenclature,
    Of bankruptcy today.

 

 Envoi:   Stockton Public Employee Remuneration, 2013, Transparent California. Robert Deis, City Manager, $327,084; Eric T. Jones, Chief of Police, $291,553; Richard Salsedo, Deputy Chief of Police, $269,395; John Luebberke, City Attorney, $247,359; Thomas Jernigan, Police Captain, $240,943; Laura Montes, Deputy City Manager, $237,968; Michael Reynosa, Police Lieutenant, $237,868; Troy Broddrick, Deputy Chief of Police, $235,441; Joseph Rocha, Police Lieutenant, $234,489; Robert Tuitavuki, Fire Battlion Chief, $234,299. These are the top ten out of 672 public employees earning more that $100,000 per year. (Source: Transparent California, for 2013.) The median income for a household in the city was $35,453, and the median income for a family was $40,434. Males had a median income of $35,181 versus $26,602 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,405. 23.9% of the population and 18.9% of families were below the poverty line. (Source: Wikipedia, n. d.)

 

Addendum of the Governing Bully:   "While the written opinion is essentially a rehash of the October rulings, it includes some scolding of CalPERS and its leading antagonist in the case, the Franklin Templeton investment firm of San Mateo. Franklin, angered that it was getting just 12 cents on the dollar for a $36 million loan to the city, launched a lengthy court fight against the city’s decision to pay CalPERS in full. CalPERS argued that government pensions are untouchable. Klein had little sympathy for CalPERS, calling its legal defenses faulty. He wrote that the pension fund 'bullied its way about in this case with an iron fist.' But the judge also was disdainful of Franklin, which he said rejected an offer by the city to increase its payments. While Franklin will now lose $32 million, he said that’s small change compared to the $550 million Stockton retirees lost when the city ended its retiree health care plan." In "Stockton bankruptcy judge puts key CalPERS rulings in writing," by Dale Kasler, Sacramento Bee, 5 February 2015.  [ 1 ]

 

Addendum of Supposedly Being Unable to Pay:   "Stockton, a city of nearly 300,000 located in Northern California, filed for bankruptcy in 2012 after years of fiscal mismanagement and a housing market crash that left it unable to pay its workers, pensioners and bondholders. Stockton's case, along with a handful of other municipal bankruptcies over the past few years, have been closely watched by the $3.6 trillion U.S. municipal market to see how creditors, from Wall Street investors to pensioners, would be treated." In "Stockton bankruptcy judge calls California pension fund a 'bully'," by Robin Respaut, Reuters, 5 February 2015.   [ 2 ]

 

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]     One compares the assertion that some retires "lost" while surveying the elite salaries of public employees as compared to a median income of Stockton's citizenry, almost ten times less than the City Manager. What defines "excessive" remuneration, when a city declares itself unable to pay, and yet pays comparatively lavish salaries to its elite among the public sector?

          One notes that the current city manager of an officially bankrupt city is paid more than the mayor of Chicago, suggesting adjectives like "lavish," "excessive" and perhaps even "corrupt." As a harbinger, consider the rhyme and its documentation: Three Little Democrats .

 

[ 2 ]     The bankruptcy judge called the public pension fund a "bully."  The city will repay only "12 cents on the dollar" for a private sector loan, and additionally "ended its retiree health care plan." With the 672 public servant earning three to ten times the average median income of its citizens, it would be apt to conclude that the public servants earning such handsome monies are in fact also "bullies," though that rhetoric as yet to be seen in local media.

          "Years of fiscal mismanagement" by political leadership exacerbated by a "housing market crash" affecting property values and individual families have left the officially "bankrupt" City of Stockton able only to pay a city manager a meager $327,084 in calendar year 2013. One can argue the public servants are no longer servants to the underclass; they are its masters.

          In 2012, the U. S. Department of Commerce identified those earning approximately $100,000 to be in the upper 20 percent of all citizens, and those earning approximately $200,000 to be in the upper 5 percent of all citizens. Thus, the adjective "elite" serves well to describe many of Stockton's -- and other governmental agencies' -- public servants as "elite."

          A small question: how does a bankrupt entity pay such remuneration to its many hundreds of "servants?"

          Another: how is this "justice" for the average individual, family or property owner in the city? State? Nation?

          Another: After repaying only 12 cents on the dollar for a loan, what lenders will still lend to Stockton? To another municipality with similar economic realities?

          Another: when will the next inevitable bankruptcy proceeding occur?


 

Freshly out of options

"At midnight on Tuesday, Greece [ 1 ]  joined Sudan, Somalia and Zimbabwe [ 2 ] as countries in arrears to the IMF. Also at midnight, the bailout assistance package that began in February 2012 formally expired, leaving Greece without access to any emergency finances. In Washington, the IMF acknowledged that Greece had failed to meet its financial obligations on time and that no further financing would be sent until the arrears were cleared." In "Greece defaults on IMF payment," by Tanya Talaga, Star, 30 June 2015.

 
                    Freshly out of options,
The cupboards are left bare.
What's some sum of nothing?
    You can count on that, your share.
                    The safety of loopy loopholes
Spun from looming debt
Wears thin, wears out and then
    What's left is what you get.
                    Some smart-aleck's scheme
Once glimmered, bright with prose;
Mere arithmetic comes around
    To total tally what one owes.
                    More than all that worthwhile was,
Candidates' political gold;
Pyrite, it turns out, and all because
    Prose lied, and then grew cold.
                    Irritatingly over-smart,
The pitchmen made their pitch;
The acts were acted, heated, hard,
    But reality proved the glitch.
                    Freshly out of options,
The lines curl longer still
Because the sum of nothing
    Comes up nothing, nix and nil.
                    Believe in footloose rhetoric
And hope will pile on hope,
But without prudence practiced,
    All men must blindly grope.
                    Shed a little lovely light
Upon the darkened lanes,
Reflecting on the cyclic arch,
    The narrative explains.
                    Borrow yesterday away;
Tomorrow's sure to come.
Fewer are the choices:
    Always less is more than sum.

                    In solvent, a seemingly mighty thing

Dissolves and disappears.

Insolvency is the governing thing

    Ever calculated as debts' arrears.

                    Think that you've run out of cash?

You did when first the debts began.

The day the game was started

    Was the harbinger the bogeyman.

 

Envoi:   "...central banks have backed themselves into a corner after repeatedly cutting interest rates to shore up their economies. These low interest rates have in turn fuelled economic booms, encouraging excessive risk taking. Booms have then turned to busts, which policymakers have responded to with even lower rates. Claudio Borio, head of the organisation’s monetary and economic department, said: 'Persistent exceptionally low rates reflect the central banks' and market participants' response to the unusually weak post-crisis recovery as they fumble in the dark in search of new certainties'." In "The world is defenceless against the next financial crisis, warns BIS," by Peter Spence, Telegraph UK, 28 June 2015.   [ 3 ]

 

Addendum of the Debt Unpayable:  "...the talks broke down because the creditors refused to face up to the fact that Greece's debt is unpayable. The International Monetary Fund has tacitly endorsed his claims, admitting that the country needs large-scale debt relief and €50bn of fresh funds over the next three years to give the economy time to recover." In "Greek banks down to €500m in cash reserves as economy crashes," by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph UK, 2 July 2015.   [ 4 ]

 

Addendum of a Poster Child for the Debt Unpayable:   "The pension system is the poster-child of the problem: Until recently, Greeks could retire after just 35 years and start collecting 80 percent of their final salary; many went into retirement in their mid-50s. Today, Greece has only four working people for every three retirees, pensions consume more than half of all government revenue — and the population is rapidly aging." In "The Greek welfare-state road to ruin," by Post Editorial Board, NYPost, 2 July 2015.   [ 5 ]

 

Addendum of Half of Greece:    "It is estimated tax evasion alone might be costing the country as much as €20billion a year in lost revenue, while years of benefit fraud will certainly have added up. But when Angelos suggested punishing those who tried to play the system, he was given a straight forward - if depressing - answer. 'If you start putting people in jail, maybe you'll have to put half of Greece in jail,' an official said." In "A whole island pretending to be blind to get benefits, 8,500 pensioners who faked being aged over 100 and lawyers who claim to earn just €12,000: New book reveals how Greeks cheated THEMSELVES into ruin," by Flora Drury, Daily Mail UK, 3 July 2015.

 

A Non-Greek Addendum:   "Puerto Rico's governor on Monday called for the commonwealth to be allowed to restructure its debts under U.S. bankruptcy code, while a newly appointed adviser to the U.S. territory said it is 'insolvent' and will soon run out of cash." In "Puerto Rico governor calls for bankruptcy; adviser says island 'insolvent'," Reuters, 29 June 2015.

 

Addendum of a Historical Similarity:   "By the fifth century, in the years before the complete collapse of Roman government, the imperial approach to taxation had produced a caste as hopeless as any in history. Their rapacious exactions, taken wherever and whenever they could, were the direct result of their desperation about their own increasingly unpayable tax bills. As these nerved-up outcasts commenced to prey on whoever was weaker than they, the rich became even richer. The great landowners ate up the little ones, the tax base shrank still further, and the middle classes, never encouraged by the Roman state, began to disappear from the face of the earth. Nor would they return till the appearance of the Italian mercantile families of the Middle Ages." In "The End of the World -- How Rome Fell -- and Why," Chapter 1 in "How the Irish Saved Civilization," Thomas Cahill, Doubleday, 1995.   [ 6 ]

 

Addendum of the Larger Crisis:   "There are 22 countries which currently have high government debt payments leading to large amounts of money leaving their country each year, along with an overall net debt with the rest of the world. Regions particularly affected are Europe (Croatia, Greece, Ireland, Macedonia, Montenegro, Portugal, Spain and Ukraine) Central America and the Caribbean (Belize, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Jamaica, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines) and North Africa and the Middle East (Lebanon and Tunisia). The Gambia in West Africa is also spending 15% of government revenue on foreign debt payments, despite qualifying for debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries initiative in 2007. Sudan and Zimbabwe do not have high government debt payments because they are both in default on much of their debt. Their overall debt is unpayable. Both are currently trying to enter debt relief initiatives, but have not been accepted yet by Western creditor countries."    In "The new debt trap," Jubilee Debt Campaign, July 2015.     [ 7 ]

 

Addendum of the State of Illinois Freshly Out of Options:   "The Illinois state lottery announced Wednesday it’s no longer a lottery; it’s more of a voluntary collection agency. That’s because the lottery, due to gridlock in passing a new state budget, no longer has the money to pay people who win. Selling lottery tickets? Not a problem. Paying out winning tickets? Problem." In "Illinois Lottery, Strapped for Cash, Starts Issuing IOUs to Winners Over $600," by Elliot Hannon, Slate, 14 October 2015.   [ 8 ]

 

Addendum of Latin America Freshly Out of Options:    "It's easy to get lost in the weeds of Brazil's, Venezuela's, or other Latin countries' internal political strife. But there's a broad, unmistakable trend out there: The region's socialist rule is collapsing as the cash runs out." In "Latin America's Red Tide Washing Away Fast," by Editorial Board, Investors Business Daily, 4 December 2015.

 

 Addendum of Venezuela Out of Options:    "...widespread scarcities and fleeing businesses reflect a country in crisis. 'There's a shortage of everything at some level,' says Ricardo Cusanno, vice president of Venezuela's Chamber of Commerce. Cusanno says 85% of companies in Venezuela have halted production to some extent." In "Venezuela is running out of everything: Bread, sugar, toilet paper..." by Rafael Romo and Patrick Gillespie, CNN Money, 31 May 2016.

 

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]     Greece joined the Euro in 1981. This was the year the Panhellenic Socialist Movement became the governing power.

          One reads: "At the Greek legislative election, 1981, PASOK won a landslide victory over the conservative New Democracy party, and Papandreou became Greece's first socialist Prime Minister. The party's main slogan was Allagi (change). In office, Papandreou backtracked from much of his campaign rhetoric and followed a more conventional approach. Greece did not withdraw from NATO, United States troops and military bases were not ordered out of Greece, and Greek membership in the European Economic Community continued, largely because Papandreou proved very capable of securing monetary aid for Greece. In domestic affairs, Papandreou's government immediately carried out a massive programme of wealth redistribution upon coming into office that immediately increased the availability of entitlement aid to the unemployed and lower wage earners. Pensions, together with average wages and the minimum wage, were increased in real terms, and changes were made to labour laws which up until 1984 made it difficult for employers to make workers redundant. The impact of the PASOK Government’s social and economic policies was such that it was estimated in 1988 that two-thirds of the decrease in inequality that occurred in Greece between 1974 and 1982 took place between 1981 and 1982." In 'Andreas Papandreou," Wikipedia article, n. d.

          One finds then that the beginning of the "change" was the idealized plan of wealth redistribution. Unfortunately it was also the entry into the Euro currency by what has proved to have been fraudulent means.

          One reads further:  "Creative accounting took priority when it came to totting up government debt. Since 1999, the Maastricht rules threaten to slap hefty fines on euro member countries that exceed the budget deficit limit of three percent of gross domestic product. Total government debt mustn't exceed 60 percent. The Greeks have never managed to stick to the 60 percent debt limit, and they only adhered to the three percent deficit ceiling with the help of blatant balance sheet cosmetics. One time, gigantic military expenditures were left out, and another time billions in hospital debt. After recalculating the figures, the experts at Eurostat consistently came up with the same results: In truth, the deficit each year has been far greater than the three percent limit. In 2009, it exploded to over 12 percent. Now, though, it looks like the Greek figure jugglers have been even more brazen than was previously thought." In "Greek Debt Crisis: How Goldman Sachs Helped Greece to Mask its True Debt," by Beat Balzli, Spiegel, 8 February 2010.

          As with all stories, these are beginnings and ends. The end to this iteration of Greek socialism, as entered into under the Panhellenic Socialist Movement, is being told under the socialist Syriza party.

          Syriza is an acronym meaning the "Radical Coalition of the Left." Thus one sees the fingerprints of socialist theory and practice on the more than three decades of "wealth redistribution" in which real wealth has fled the nation, been squandered and misused unwisely. One has read stories of corruption in governing throughout this period alongside the piling up of unsustainable debt, followed by a predictable default. 

          Were the skills of socialist theorists and practitioners in government has been able to make Greek socialism function, the default would not be occurring. That "figure jugglers have been even more brazen than was previously thought" seems so often to come as a surprise to those who place too much faith in governance.

          Oddly, one sees into some of the Radical Coalition of the Left's rhetoric to see juggling in words. One reads: "As endless meetings came and went, both sides refused to give much ground. Tsipras ratcheted up the rhetoric, accusing Greece's creditors of 'five years of looting under the bailouts'." In "Special Report: How Greece went bust," by Renee Maltezou, Elizabeth Pineau and Andreas Rinke, Reuters, 1 July 2015.

          Thus a loan is a bailout and expecting a loan to be repaid is looting. From this linguistic 'clarity,' one may correctly conclude that the way to end "looting under the bailouts" is to cease the bailouts, and cease "looting," i.e. expecting repayment for previous loans. Ergo, default, plain and simple. With this clean break then, the Radical Coalition of the Left can work towards economic success in Greece using tax revenues from the productive men and women of Greece, and without further monies from outside the nation. This will prove something quite like the ongoing story of Marxist Zimbabwe. How can it otherwise, given the economic collapse of so many socialist-styled nations over the last century?

          "...For six years the brainiacs at the International Monetary Fund and the European Union have devised one bailout and debt restructuring scheme after another. None of them have worked. They have only saddled the Greek citizens with even more long term debt that can’t be paid back. Greece is now sitting on $350 billion of debt. Its unpayable and the international monetary experts are deluding themselves into believing that by some magic stroke, this nation of 11 million citizens will some time in the future come up with the funds to repay it. Greece is already overtaxed, and adding more taxing the few businesses that are still functioning is only going to ensure their eventual demise too. Meanwhile the Greek citizens have come to the conclusion that fat pensions and cradle to grave welfare benefits are a human right that can never be taken away. That is what they declared in the referendum. But those benefits are going to be taken away. Socialism has radically reduced the standard of living of the citizens." In "As Greece collapses, the big loser is socialism," by Stephen Moore, Fox News, 7 July 2015.

          For this, an argument in rhyme concludes of So shall ism as ideology is failing in many locales around the world. But additionally one finds that this doctrine, often arrived at by violent revolution and in other places arrived at by democratic workings, remains distinctly undemocratic, because one cannot vote one's self a share of someone else's income without using the force of law to confiscate. For this, a major proponent of socialism noted well that it is not in fact democratic, even when arrived at by convincing citizen to vote for it. See testimony to this: Socialism's Last Hurrah  - not democracy in any town.

           The softer variant of socialism, the debt-fueled social welfare state, collapses quite as effectively as the more militant socialist revolution, because the militant socialist may use overt force in a one-party state, without concern for a political opposition toppling the power of the single-party state -- until simple economic collapse accomplishes this.

           Basic reality is beginning to be expressed in hard words:  "Michael O'Leary, chief executive of Ryanair, has said that Greece elected 'a bunch of lunatics.' He said 'You can’t be bloody retiring, sitting in a cafe drinking coffee and expecting the Germans or the Irish or the Portuguese to pay for you.' Ryanair has been forced to take cash from Greeks to pay for tickets as their cards are not working due to capital controls." In "Ryanair chief: Syriza are 'a bunch of lunatics'," Telegraph UK, 9 July 2015.

 

[ 2 ]     One finds the many decades of Zimbabwean government under the ZANU-PF party led to severe economic crisis. One reads: "Two hundred and seventeen US dollars – the equivalent of £138. That is all that remains in the public account of the Zimbabwean government, a bewildered finance minister has announced. The paltry amount cast doubt over claims of a slow economic recovery and raised fresh questions about the fate of the country's diamond revenues – officials say almost $685m worth were sold last year. 'Last week when we paid civil servants there was $217 [left] in government coffers,' Tendai Biti, the finance minster, told journalists in the capital, Harare, on Tuesday, noting that some of them have healthier bank balances than the state. 'The government finances are in a paralysis state at the present moment. We are failing to meet our targets'." In "Zimbabwean government bank balance 'down to $217' ," by David Smith, Guardian UK, 30 January 2013.

          Basic arithmetic sees the enormous disparity between $685 million dollars in diamond sales by the nation coupled to no cash reserves "after we paid civil servants." Thus the various function of Zimbabwean government consume the large portion of a nation's income, and more.

          Zimbabwean governance has not only used up the nation's income, but also has borrowed and then defaulted on the debt. One learns:  "The International Monetary Fund said Zimbabwe must pay $142 million in overdue payments to be eligible for more credit, a task the country’s Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa said will be hard to do without 'fresh money.' The IMF last year began a monitoring program in Zimbabwe, which has been in default to the lender since 1999. The IMF this year appointed its first representative to the southern African nation in a decade in a step toward mending relations. The country has at least $10 billion in external debts." In "IMF Says Zimbabwe Must Repay Debt to Be Eligible for More Credit," by Brian Latham, Bloomberg, 23 September 2014.

          Zimbabwean governance is evidence of Marxist-inspired Sheer Ignorance .  One reads odd news couched in racist terms:  "Zimbabwe’s government has for the first time suggested it may give official permission for some white farmers to stay on their land, 15 years after it sanctioned widespread land grabs that plummeted the country into an economic crisis. Douglas Mombeshora, the Zanu-PF Lands Minister, said provincial leaders had been asked to draw up a list of white farmers they wanted to stay on their farms deemed to be 'of strategic economic importance'." In "Zimbabwe to hand back land to some white farmers," by Peta Thornycroft and Aislinn Laing, Telegraph UK, 13 July 2015.

          But Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since 1987 and "corrected" the colonial history and apartheid, now suggests that his land reform handed land to those who were ignorant of profitable farming and such "strategic economic importance" comes from whites? The illogic and racial thought is evidence of sheer ignorance borne of Marxist political theory -- "scientific socialism," as one should recall -- which pretended that agrarian science as practiced by white farmers when the former Rhodesia was known as the "breadbasket of Africa." Now somehow the cause of such historical injustices -- whites of European background -- are supposed to reverse the collapse of the ZANU-PF Marxist governance. The irony is enormous.

          What is Zimbabwean government, after the fall of Rhodesia and apartheid there?  "The Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (ZANLA) was ZANU's military wing. Before 1980, it was very heavily dependent on China and other communist countries for finance, arms supplies and training. For this reason, ZANU made itself amenable to Maoist and other communist ideology." In "Zimbabwe African National Union," Wikipedia, n. d.  Thus one may lay to the theorists and practitioners of Zimbabwean Marxism the successful revolution against Rhodesian apartheid, but also the failed economic revolution which socialism brags it can build and sustain. In debt of billions and without "fresh money" from yet more unsustainable loans coupled to a government which pays itself most of the nation's economic output, one sees the dream become a nightmare.

          A socialist nation carrying massive debt, in default to the IMF as "lender of last resort," and paying the government -- those "civil servants" -- the largest portion of remaining income is also now undergoing significant political rivalry all on the Left. One reads:  " The government has failed and the Look East policy only makes a few people rich. 'Only until there is a real change of government, we are all going to suffer. The only person capable of changing this is Amai Mujuru,' Mutasa said in a recent interview with the Daily News." In "Stalwarts form new Zanu PF," by Fungi Kwaramba, Daily News, 6 April 2015.

          One finds additional data in less-known media:  "The daily struggle for survival in an economy with unemployment estimated at close to 90 percent has created another problem for Harare as an estimated 20,000 vendors have invaded the central business district, making it an eye sore. Critics say this is a symptom of a collapsing state, where political infighting and corruption are keeping people in poverty and misery." In "Dirty Harare City Now 'A Warzone'," VOA via ZimEye, 2 July 2015.

          The injustices of what was once Rhodesia were to have caused "poverty and misery" and now the realities of Zimbabwe are "keeping people in poverty and misery."

          It should come as no surprise to one watching international developments that Socialists love money , as the details continue to mount up under the title of Capital for Communists - a story growing old.

          But before leaving the tale of Zimbabwe, one should note the egalitarian evidence of enlightened Marxist-inspired leadership: "The lavish celebration for the Zimbabwean president’s 91st will be held on 28 February on a championship golf course at the Elephant Hills Resort, a luxury hotel with spa, swimming pool and tennis courts at Victoria Falls. An estimated 20,000 people are expected to attend. Local farmer Tendai Musasa has pledged to donate two elephants, two buffalo, two sables, five impalas and a lion worth a combined £78,000 towards the jamboree, Zimbabwe’s Chronicle newspaper reported." In "Robert Mugabe's birthday party cooks up elephantine storm before it starts," by David Smith, Guardian UK, 16 February 2015.  

          In a population of 14+ million citizens of Zimbabwe, the "estimated 20,000" people seems like a party of party members. As to median income, one learns:  "The average wage is $253 a month—and that's for the 30 percent of the population who are employed. The highest government salary is $508 per month." In "How Did Zimbabwe Become So Poor—And Yet So Expensive?" by Michael Hobbes, New Republic, 6 January 2014.

          With the ZANU-PF Marxists in power, Zimbabwe is collapsing for all except the power elite. That power elite now turns to what is essentially a plan to counterfeit currency. One reads of this collapsing nation:  "Zimbabwe once removed 12 zeros from its battered currency at the height of hyper-inflation in 2009 when the largest note was the $100 trillion denomination. State-sanctioned seizure of white-owned farms starting in 2000 left the agricultural sector in ruin, and triggered a sharp economic slowdown, with mass unemployment, emigration and many business closures. President Robert Mugabe, 90, has ruled the country, which relies on imports for even basic commodities, since independence in 1980." In "Zimbabwe to print local 'US dollar'," News 24, 5 May 2016.

          Relative luxury for the fat cats and a lavish celebration too, while 70 percent are unemployed. Such is the nature of government leadership in a nation "in arrears" to international lenders, and unable to repay loans or attract foreign investment. But at least elephant, buffalo, sable, impala and lion are on the menu for the human fat cats.

 

[ 3 ]  The world has no defense in the next financial crisis? The rhetoric is odd. A more careful question would be: is the world defenseless against the next corrupt government? I think the answer is yes, in the moment. Corrupt, incompetent and often brutal governments must collapse, incompetence reigning and leading to such tales as the above.

          The unquestioned assumption that government is the answer to such is erroneous, as one surveys the participation by government in so many of these crises, as well as wars, injustice against nations' own citizenry and more. While socialists like to say that socialism provides the answers, Greek and Zimbabwean socialism have demonstrated the opposite. Moreover, many other insolvencies, defaults and collapses are properly laid to the ideology. The early quasi-socialists are often cited as rationale for socialism, but in fact the inverse is true.

          Many of the early 20th century "socialists" and "communists" were in fact anarchists, often opposed to the state.

          As cited elsewhere supporting these views-in-rhyme, one reads:  "It is certainly clear that wherever society exits there is no room for the state, but that wherever the state is it is like a thorn in society’s flesh, it does not permit it to form a people who can socially inhale and exhale, and instead divides them into classes and thereby prevents them from being a society. A centralized construct cannot at the same time be a federalist construct. A system of management organized along authoritarian lines is a government, a bureaucracy, a commanding power, and this is the mark of the state; a community built upon equal rights and mutuality is, when considered within the bounds of their physical proximity, a people, when considered as a general form of human living, a society. State and society are opposing concepts; the one excludes the other." Erich Kurt Mühsam, in "The Liberation of Society from the State. What is Communist Anarchism?" (Berlin-Britz, November 1932, Translated by CR Edmonston, 13 Sept 2008)

          Additionally:  "Anarchism, then, really stands for the liberation of the human mind from the dominion of religion; the liberation of the human body from the dominion of property; liberation from the shackles and restraint of government. Anarchism stands for a social order based on the free grouping of individuals for the purpose of producing real social wealth; an order that will guarantee to every human being free access to the earth and full enjoyment of the necessities of life, according to individual desires, tastes, and inclinations." Emma Goldman, in "Anarchism and Other Essays." (Third revised edition, New York: Mother Earth Publishing Association, 1917)

          These early anarchists, often appropriated by socialists to "prove" some rhetorical assertion, say quite a similar thing. "Real social wealth," as Goldman states, is produced by a social order not the state, and "according to individual desires, tastes, and inclinations." Ergo freedom equates to "real social wealth, while the government equates to "shackles and restraint." Mühsam notes, government acts on its citizens and "divides them into classes and thereby prevents them from being a society."

          In the simple look to Stockton's elite public servants, one finds such imagery to be economically true.

          "State and society are opposing concepts; the one excludes the other."  This is a most disagreeable political opinion from the perspective of the elite public servants, for whom Income Inequality is their path to riches. For today's parlance, one might alter the statement to the "state and society are opposing concepts; the one becomes rich from the other."

 

[ 4 ]    If the debt is indeed "unpayable," whether it was or was not in previous years, the simple fact is that unpayable debt which cannot logically be repaid cannot be followed by "more debt." The notion of "fresh funds" is a linguistic error, for "fresh funds" are also either basic charity to an entire nation, no longer necessary to be repaid, or fresh debt piled onto existing debt.

          Shortly after another "deal," one reads:  " 'The dramatic deterioration in debt sustainability points to the need for debt relief on a scale that would need to go well beyond what has been under consideration to date - and what has been proposed by the ESM,' the IMF said, referring to the European Stability Mechanism bailout fund. European countries would have to give Greece a 30-year grace period on servicing all its European debt, including new loans, and a very dramatic maturity extension, or else make explicit annual fiscal transfers to the Greek budget or accept 'deep upfront haircuts' on their loans to Athens, the report said." In "Exclusive: Greece needs debt relief far beyond EU plans - Secret IMF report," Reuters, 14 July 2015.

          Whatever the politics of this from any political stance is, the basic arithmetic becomes glaringly simple. The debt is not payable in large part, and therefore more loans -- meaning more debt -- become wholly a political game of income transfer, and not lending in any sense of the word. Rather it becomes pretence. Political pretence.

 

[ 5 ]   While the editorial board of a newspaper, in print and online, might seem to be making a political statement, the simplest of arithmetic is the analyst. When a citizenry has "only four working people for every three retirees," and pensions "consume" more than half of government revenue, then the limits to a sustainability of the economy have been breached. Thus, one may understand the range of arguments which have come from months of negotiations with the other member states of the European Union all amount to "rent seeking" from outside the national borders of Greece itself.

          For a broader perspective on the phenomenon of rent seeking, see: A Tale of Lords, told by a Serf  .

          When half of a given population expects their "rent" for past productivity to be supplied by the remaining half of a population which remains productive, the arithmetic says that a "worker" must work for two that a "retired" worker no longer work, all the while "democratically" requiring the working individual to comply. As the productive conclude that they are being too heavily burdened, they will revolt in violent but also non-violent ways. This was the experience of the feudal society, of the  aristocratic order, of the era of robber barons, as well as the experience of the now-collapsed Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, wherein almost every five-year plan missed its productivity target.

          The joke in that era was "I am working against the government -- by not working."

          One has seen a similar generational collapse of the kibbutz system begun by ideologically driven Israelis, who found that successive generations did not hold similar goals and interests, but rather walked away. Additionally such social phenomena as strikes and boycotts have been non-violent methods to overthrow some behavior of a system, regime, governance and the like.

          When half a population requires the other half to fund their lack of earning except through the act of enforced rent seeking, a collapse is inevitable. Ideology plays no part in the conclusion to the arithmetic.

          One must work for two. This functions within a family, but not across a nation, nations or worldwide.

 

[ 6 ]     While the story comes from before the collapse of the Roman Empire, one only need change some nouns to find this same story as current as today's stories. Instead of Imperial Rome, one may read a nation's central government, and yet while the rich still get richer, the lower classes are increasingly squeezed by taxation. Yet the central government's politicians portray themselves as defenders of the rich. Cahill explains.

          "We should not think of the emperors as active persecutors of the poor curiales. (They actually thought of themselves as protecting them -- and all Roman citizens -- from the cruel vagaries of life beyond the Roman orbis. ....the bureaucratic and social establishments of Rome became so top-heavy and entrenched that effective reform was no longer possible. Class was insulated from class."

          One finds the insulated political class still being "top-heavy and entrenched," whether it be one nation, another, or even the supranational entities like the European Union, United Nations and the like. If history be a guide, "effective reform" is "no longer possible," but rather the predicted outcomes will be collapse. Such collapse was seen in the dissolution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the many monetary crises ongoing around the world, and the continuing demand from politicians that they be heeded and indeed obeyed. all the while they demand "more" money from a citizenry in fiscal distress. The fault is never that of the political leadership, of course, for they are self-described victims of some other "enemy" than their own "bureaucratic and social establishments."

 

[ 7 ]   The key notion in this statement is that "high government debt payments leading to large amounts of money leaving their country each year" is the cause of many crises. Potentially productive local capital flees local government controls, and when local government debt rises and that same local government seeks capital within its jurisdiction, it is local capital which flees.

          In many instances, a range from government mismanagement to government corruption is why "financing" through debt of government programs is ineffective in growing an economy. Rather, it is proving correct to note that such governments are hindering local economies, and then blaming capital for "fleeing." 

          From overtly Communist nations like China and its elite billionaires to socialist nations like Venezuela with its elite living well on the backs of poverty to social welfare states which have funded unsustainable benefits by borrowing from tomorrow, the structure of the failure is quite the same.

          Pay for today -- for government programs to benefit a range of the true poor to actual billionaires -- by borrowing from tomorrow.

          Pay for today to fund unpayable promises, and then look for more lenders to increase debt to even greater unpayable levels, all the while it is clear that "high government debt payments leading to large amounts of money leaving their country each year." For this one finds even the officially Communist Chinese billionaires are shifting capital to other nations, as has been the practice for the corrupt in government for many decades.

          Thus one may conclude that most "public debt" in this era is itself a scam, buying power and wealth for the few and making more desperate the many, as inflation grinds down the lower classes. Government accuses the private and productive of Sheer Ignorance , but it is the sheer ignorance of government that piles up public debt. And for this, it becomes imperative that such ignorant government attempt to Put the past to rest  - ignore the dead oppressed -- that history not reveal the same old scam being repeated again and again, from government to bungling, indebted government.

          The article citing the report reminds:  " 'All this debt is probably being accumulated because other sources of growth are increasingly in decline,' says Russell Jones. 'There’s a lot of pressure on governments and central banks to keep things going at the old rate'."  In "Beyond Greece, the world is filled with debt crises," by Heather Stewart, Guardian UK, 11 July 2015. (Jubilee’s policy officer: Tim Jones)

          When every nation -- the most indebted being Sam?   - the Debtor Man -- is a debtor, then the future is predictable. As in feudal times and the era of emperors, aristocracies, dictators, the oligarchs and plutocrats and of course that "dictatorship of the proletariat," the rich in and of government will live far above the common folk.

          What presses against this? Those who follow the behavior most disagreeable to the "betters" of such governments -- as People walk away .

          This is because not only to people walk away, but as the report notes, "high government debt payments lead[s] to large amounts of money leaving their country each year."

          Government which goes into sustained periods of unsustainable debt is the cause, the crisis and the proof of where true, sheer ignorance lies -- with the politicians and the ideologues.

          Debt suppresses sources of growth.

 

[ 8 ]   All the while taking in money is never a problem for government, paying out -- or paying back -- seems to be the consistent theme, as government pledges responsibility and accountability while evidencing neither.  Noted in the article is a consistent theme, as one reads:  "Katelyn Johnson, executive director of Action Now, said the mayor’s elected school board is part of a culture of corruption. 'They’ve allowed this to happen. It happened right under their noses, and they looked the other way. So they’re equally as culpable as she is, and things need to change,' she said."

          The succinct prose of the article notes: "Selling lottery tickets? Not a problem. Paying out winning tickets? Problem." How easily this compares to Detroit selling municipal bonds and then, in some high profile cases, "paying out" 12 cents on the investment dollar.  See the unfortunate truths of democracy in action:  Voted  - not sugarcoated.

          The ever-present theme in all these tales of government is Corruption .

          It is that simple. It is that profound.


 

Apple-crapple

The apple-crapple cart rolls by,
Its vendor loudly calls the cry.
Who will buy them apples?
Won't you even try?

Tasty, once you've bitten,
With apple-crapple smitten,
No competing chapels,
All creeds will be rewritten.

The apple-crapple cart gleams bright,
Its fruit well polished to invite
Each who struggles, grapples,
With some higher calling's spite.

Bite the apple-crapple, bite
And savor its alluring sleight
Of hand -- well-seasoned scrapple
Whipping a people's appetite.


 

Good little party members

Good little party members, march in step;
Forward to the precipice, fueled with pep.

Footfalls all in unison, with none to disagree;
Fundamental union calls unabashedly.

Schools of fish, herds and hordes, sheep and we
Move in expected covenants acquiescingly.

Fish out of water are misfits we disdain;
Nonconforming irritants opposing party reign.

Oddballs are the squarest pegs roundly in their holes,
Choosing those alternatives which are not party goals.

Good little party members, act accordingly;
Cudgel ready when the I breaks from the forceful we.


 

Just because you say it loud

Just because you say it loud does not make it so.
Just because you want it bad will not much bestow.
Just because is just because, no path by which to grow.
Even as you kick and fuss, your debts you still will owe.
As you wish and want and will, the reply comes often - no.
Why is that? It's just because. I thought you'd like to know.


 

We ran out

"Dad would say, 'When you try to get something for nothing, you'll end up getting nothing for something'." In "Father's Day: Being Raised Without a Father Is Not a Death Sentence," by Larry Elder, Townhall, 17 June 2015.

We ran out of what once was free; for free now, we'll have to charge.
What seemed a tiny little problem has suddenly grown quite large.
So many lined up for the free that soon it all was gone.
Still there's clamor, "give us more;" but we are overdrawn.

When all is done and given and the larder is quite bare,
All the talk and blather chatters, battering vacuous air.
When the well is emptied, when the tap runs dry,
When the source has withered there comes that by and by.

Free runs out, and that's the truth which too few will wish to hear.
Warnings fall like thunderclaps upon each deafest ear.
When something comes for nothing, as seems that labeled free,
Soon nothing costs its something, as ends men's foolish spree.

 

Addendum of Running Out, Greek Style:   "The rich can mitigate the effect of enforced bank holidays, capital controls and hyperinflation by holding assets or cash abroad; the very poor don’t have much to lose in the first place. It is always those in the middle -- and especially what Marxist intellectuals call the petit bourgeois, the aspiring, hard-working workers and savers -- who are hurt the hardest. They will have worked hard to build a life for themselves, and will find it intolerable to see it all snatched away. These are grim days indeed for Greece." In "Leftist politics have doomed Greece to collapse," Allister Heath, Telegraph UK, 29 June 2015.

 

Addendum of Running Out, Venezuelan Style:   "...getting even poorer now, because of economic mismanagement on a world-historical scale. The problem is simple: Venezuela's government thinks it can have an economy by just pretending it does. That it can print as much money as it wants without stoking inflation by just saying it won't. And that it can end shortages just by kicking people out of line. It's a triumph of magical thinking that's not much of one when it turns grocery-shopping into a days-long ordeal that may or may not actually turn up things like food or toilet paper. This reality has been a long time coming." In "Venezuela should be rich, but its government has destroyed its economy," by Matt O'Brien, Washington Post, 21 January 2015.    [ 1 ]

 

Addendum of Running Out, Zimbabwean Style:   "Hyper-inflation saw prices in shops change several times a day, severe shortages of basic goods and Zimbabweans taking their money to market in wheelbarrows. Ahead of the abandonment of the Zimbabwean dollar in January 2009, officials gave up on reporting official inflation statistics. Towards the end of 2008, annual inflation had reached 231m%, pensions, wages and investments were worthless, most schools and hospitals were closed and at least eight in 10 people were out of work." In "Zimbabwe dollars phased out," BBC, 12 June 2015.    [ 2 ]

 

Addendum of Argentine Running Out:    "After years of bitter court battles with creditors, Argentina has defaulted on its debt, according to rating agency Standard & Poor's. After failing to come to an agreement with creditors from its previous default in 2001, the country missed necessary bond payments on July 31, triggering the default announcement." In "Not just Argentina: 11 countries near bankruptcy," by Alexander E.M. Hess and Alexander Kent, USA Today, 1 August 2014.   [ 3 ]

 

Addendum of Chicago Public Schools Running Out:   "The downgrade, which applies to CPS' $6.2 billion in taxpayer-backed debt, is likely to increase borrowing costs at a time when the school district has little access to cash. CPS still has up to $500 million in short-term credit that can be used for operating funds, according to a presentation to prospective bondholders last month." In "Chicago Public Schools debt also is downgraded to junk status," by Heather Gillers, Chicago Tribune, 13 May 2015.   [ 4 ]

 

Addendum of the City of Chicago Running Out:   "...it's clearer with each ruling — two Supreme Court cases and this one in Cook County — that governments throughout Illinois are running out of options. State and local officials have to figure out how they'll function while meeting these obligations under this constitution. When the city's law passed, Emanuel said it was constitutional, would protect pensions going forward and would be a model for other pension funds. Without the changes, he said, Chicago's funds would face insolvency: 'Without this reform, these two funds will run out of money in just a matter of years, which is why we must defend this law to protect the future of our workers, retirees and taxpayers'." In " Pension doomsday: How will Illinois pols cope with this crisis?" Editorial Board, Chicago Tribune, 26 July 2015.    [ 5 ]

 

Addendum of China Running Out:   "In an extraordinary move, the People’s Bank of China has begun lending money to investors to buy shares in the flailing market. The Wall Street Journal reports this 'liquidity assistance' will be provided to the regulator-owned China Securities Finance Corp, which will lend the money to brokerages, which will in turn lend to investors. The dramatic intervention marks the first time funds from the central bank have been directed anywhere other than the banks, signalling serious concern from authorities about the crisis. At the same time, Chinese authorities are putting a halt to any new stock listings. The market regulator announced on Friday it would limit initial public offerings — which disrupt the rest of the market — in an attempt to curb plunging share prices." In "Chinese chaos worse than Greece," News/Australia, 7 July 2015.   [ 6 ]

 

Addendum of US Social Security Running Out:    "Social Security is not sustainable over the long term at current benefit and tax rates. In 2010, the program paid more in benefits and expenses than it collected in taxes and other noninterest income, and the 2014 Trustees Report projects this pattern to continue for the next 75 years. The Trustees estimate that the combined OASI and DI trust fund reserves will be depleted by 2033. At that point, payroll taxes and other income will flow into the fund but will be sufficient to pay only about 75% of program costs." In "2014 Annual Report of the Board of Trustees of the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Disability Insurance Trust Funds, Table IV.B1," U. S. Social Security Administration, Office of Retirement and Disability Policy.   [ 7 ]

 

See:    Who's gonna pull the welfare wagon  - a Western poem, and consider more on:   A Government of Shame  - a composer's view

 

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]  The "Bolivarian revolution" was arrived at via elections. Even so, as with Greece voting for its socialist government, a government cannot "have an economy just by pretending it does," in the parlance of the Washington Post article. One reads from another source:  "Just a month ago, $1 was worth 279 bolivars. That was already pretty dismal for Venezuela. Now $1 equals 408 bolivars, according to the unofficial exchange rate, which most Venezuelans get when they try to trade currency. Put another way, one bolivar equals $0.002 -- less than a penny. The country's currency has lost nearly half its value since the beginning of May, according to dolartoday.com, a website that tracks the unofficial exchange rate." In "Venezuela's currency isn't worth a penny," by Patrick Gillespie, CNN, 3 June 2015.

          The current Venezuelan currency was named after a historic revolution against tyranny. "Simón Bolívar, in full Simón José Antonio de la Santísima Trinidad Bolívar y Palacios (24 July 1783 – 17 December 1830), was a Venezuelan military and political leader who played an instrumental role in the establishment of Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru and Colombia as sovereign states independent of Spanish rule." (Wikipedia, n.d.)  This currency named after a historical Venezuelan hero is now failing, as the Washington Post wrote, because the Venezuelan "...government has destroyed its economy."

          The previous president, Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías (1954-2013) was democratically elected President of Venezuela in February 1999. He stated of this 21st century Bolivarian revolution, "We have to re-invent socialism. It can’t be the kind of socialism that we saw in the Soviet Union, but it will emerge as we develop new systems that are built on cooperation, not competition." Hugo Chávez (1954-2013), in the closing speech at the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil, 31 January 2005.

          A short ten years later, the re-invented socialism arrived at through elections, is failing quickly. Maduro, the hand-picked successor to Chávez, has jailed opposition leaders, and continued to blame fascists and U. S. imperialism (now under the Obama administration) for the economic chaos. No mention of the "new systems that are built on cooperation" which were proposed by Chávez and Maduro to be effective, is being re-examined, because according to ideologues socialism is not supposed to fail.

          For all the blame heaped by the Venezuelan government under Maduro accusing "fascists" of varying kinds of failures, one finds economic failure looms in 2015. One reads: "Though many basic goods and utilities are subsidized or price-fixed, Venezuelans are increasingly struggling to make ends meet as price increases gobble up their purchasing power. 'This is a nightmare,' said Beatriz Quintero, 58, as she leant on a half-full shopping cart outside a supermarket and looked aghast at her bill." In "Venezuela's currency is sinking so fast, its biggest bill is worth just 16 US pennies," by Alexandra Ulmer, Reuters, 10 July 2015.

          Referencing Chávez' romanticized socialist rhetoric just above which is only ten years in the past, it is being proven that "new systems that are built on cooperation" of a Chávez-Maduro sort are not cooperating with the Venezuelan people "increasingly struggling to make ends meet as price increases gobble up their purchasing power."  One can review recent history as ordinary citizens Fled from empty market shelves   - a history lesson.

          "We have to re-invent socialism," said the Venezuelan socialists.

          And for such re-invention, one learns:  "The Nicolás Maduro government is compelling the country’s food producers to send up to 100 percent of their output to state-owned distribution centers and stores, in an attempt to solve the nation’s shortage problems." In "Amid Shortages, Venezuela Forces All Food Distribution into State Hands," by Sabrina Martín, Pan Am Post, 23 July 2015.

          One also learns:  "Venezuela's public healthcare is in disarray. Long term underinvestment and neglect has meant that doctors are warning of a serious crisis in its public hospitals. I wanted to try to photograph the reality of what was happening from the inside. It's not a story the government in Venezuela wants told. There is almost no official information available about waiting lists, operating times, or treatment. The government argues that its critics simply distort any figures they release to make them look bad." In "Venezuela's hospitals on life support," by Betty Laura Zapata, Channel4 UK, 29 July 2015.

          While the Maduro government rages against critics, Zapata notes:  "It's not just a lack of medicines that is making life difficult. Spiralling inflation, which topped 600 percent in July 2015, has meant that doctors' salaries are now worth less than £10 per month. The NGO Venezuelan Medical Societies Network estimates that in the last few years approximately 10,000 medical graduates have left the country. The government hasn't been short of revenue however: Venezuela made £1.2 trillion in oil exports in a decade."

          Further:   "The basket of subsidized food the government gives her mother every 15 days only feeds her family for two days. Lately, she only eats a cornmeal patty for lunch because she can’t afford more. 'I think we’re going to die of hunger,' she said." In "Venezuela’s Food Shortages Trigger Long Lines, Hunger and Looting," by Maolis Castro and Kejal Vyas, Wall Street Journal, 26 August 2015.

          The so-called socialist revision of a Bolivarian revolution is failing dramatically. But then again, Bolivar foresaw this two hundred years ago.

          "In Caracas party spirit arose in the societies, assemblies, and popular elections; these parties led us back into slavery." In " A Letter by Simón Bolívar," otherwise known as "Reply of a South American to a Gentleman of this Island,: Kingston, Jamaica, 6 September 1815. Translated by Lewis Bertrand in "Selected Writings of Bolivar," New York: The Colonial Press Inc., 1951.

          Chávez' "21st century Bolivarian revolution" has already run out of so many things, including trust. It has been a lie. Consider the outright, pseudo-theological stupidity:  Jesus was a socialist? .

 

[ 2 ]   As with the Greek and Venezuelan elections in which a populace voted for a government unable to bolster its nation's economy, the theme remains the same:  "Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has won a seventh term in office, officials say, amid claims of electoral fraud." In "Zimbabwe President Mugabe re-elected amid fraud claims," BBC, 3 August 2013.

          How is this for economic incompetence at the national level? "Zimbabweans can exchange bank accounts of up to 175 quadrillion (175,000,000,000,000,000) Zimbabwean dollars for five US dollars. Higher balances will be exchanged at a rate of Z$35 quadrillion to US$1." In "Zimbabwe dollars phased out," BBC, 12 June 2015.

          As with the other governments in this group, "elected" leaders have led to collapse. One finds the theme played out in many nations and at many levels. See:  Voted  - not sugarcoated.

 

[ 3 ]     The Argentine people are being hit ever harder with inflation. One reads:  "While consumer prices rose 24 percent in 2014, according to the government, private estimates place the figure at almost 40 percent. The official peso rate weakened 23 percent in 2014, mainly due to a 19 percent devaluation in January 2014. A black market for the currency trades at about 12.8 compared with the official rate of 8.76." In "Argentina Economy Can’t Take 40 Percent Inflation: Massa," by Daniel Cancel, Bloomberg, 7 March 2015.

          Similar reports support this picture.  "Over the past decade the peso has tumbled and inflation, the official statistics on which have been manipulated for years, has increased sixfold. Despite these drains on Argentines' purchasing power, Ms Fernández has refused to allow a higher-value banknote. Today, 100 pesos buys a mere $11 at the official exchange rate. It fetches only $8 on the black market, which flourished after 2011 when Ms Fernández throttled foreign-currency dealings." This erosion of the peso's value means that banks must handle ever-growing volumes of cash." In "Low bill, a government in denial over inflation," The Economist, 11 April 2015.

          The current Argentine government argues its case that repaying debts of former government leaders is immoral.

          One reads: "...it would be wrong to pay. 'Foreigners financed a lot of leaders, like these dictators. They didn't do what they were supposed to do with the money, and left future generations the debt,' she says, shaking her head. 'So, of course, you cannot allow that.' Fernandez is nearing the end of her term, and it doesn't look like things will change under the next president. Daniel Scioli, the front-runner for October elections, vows to carry on the fight against paying the vultures in full." In "Why Argentina Consistently, and Unapologetically, Refuses to Pay Its Debts," by Michael Smith, Bloomberg, 17 July 2015.

          The argument seems logical, but the flaw is easily revealed. "Public" debt loses all meaning, when members of the "public" declare that they did not sign on to the debt of previous administrations and therefore do not have a share in repaying past debts. Applying the logic to any and all governments, a "public" can easily repudiate any debt, especially "foreign debt" and argue that funds loaned were not applied properly; ergo, a public repudiates public debt of a "previous" government. The result is that investors will see little sense in lending to a government which will -- not might, but will -- repudiate the debt. Rather, investments become the targets of National Eyes , ready to confiscate. 

          Without financing beyond the borders of any municipality, state or nation, that governmental body then relies only on productivity inside its borders to finance itself. For the less productive then, collapse becomes the next step. In the case of Fernandez' Argentina, as above, consequences amass. "Argentina Economy Can’t Take 40 Percent Inflation."

          The other governments in similar circumstances at this time are in the same predicament. Thankfully for the leaders of said governments, they live well while they can. Some as millionaires and others as billionaires, far above the standard of living of the average citizen. This is because the citizen will "run out," before the party elite. Such is the nature of power.

          Potential future lenders to governments like these? They question previous "lenders" who have enjoyed a A clip job   - the way to legally rob -- with greater and and more urgent clarity:  Now how does that seem to a lender like you? - a run-around.

 

[ 4 ]   The taxpayer-backed debt reported by the Chicago Tribune in May 2015 was $ 6.2 billion. CPS cites a larger debt:  "The Board of Education currently has $6.4 billion of outstanding debt." In "Chicago Public Schools Fiscal Year 2015 Budget," Chicago Public Schools web site, accessed July 2015.

         As to the pension obligations under the union contracts, the same website notes of their fund:  "The funded ratio decreased from 100 percent in 2001 to 49.7 percent in 2013." In "Pensions," CPS website.

          When one considers governments, municipal and state governments as well as public school systems are to be included. Governance is governance. Voter support for elected officials is a democratic process, as may be seen from all the above "democratic" governments now so deep in economic crises.

          One may conclude that either voters are become economically illiterate at this point or believe that money will be found from outside the borders of their own jurisdiction. One may also conclude that politicians are become unwilling to act as fiscal stewards for the citizenry as a whole.

          Of the steps towards bankruptcy of Chicago's public school system and its governors, one reads:   "...Gov. Bruce Rauner said he fears the school district could be headed toward bankruptcy. The governor’s remarks were made Tuesday during a conversation with Chicago Public Education Fund board member Mellody Hobson, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Rauner has suggested giving municipalities the ability to declare bankruptcy in his turnaround agenda, and a bill has been introduced in the capital." In "CPS Facing Federal Investigation, Calls For Bankruptcy," by Nick Blumberg and Kristen Thometz, WTTW Chicago Tonight, 16 April 2015.

          One looks back six months to a local paper's reporting on a member of the CPS board:  "Quazzo’s companies have gotten an additional $2.9 million in Chicago Public Schools business in the year and a half since the millionaire venture capitalist joined the board to fill a vacancy left by Penny Pritzker when President Barack Obama named Pritzker commerce secretary. In all, five companies in which Quazzo has an ownership stake have been paid more than $3.8 million by CPS for ACT prep or online help with reading, writing and math. One of them stands to collect an additional $1.6 million this year from a district contract. Quazzo has continued to invest in the companies doing business with CPS since her appointment. She says she sees no conflict of interest between her roles as a steward of the cash-strapped school system and as a private investor." In "The Watchdogs: CPS a profitable investment for Chicago Board of Ed member," by Lauren FitzPatrick, Chicago Sun-Times, 22 December 2014.

          As to Quazzo's predecessor on the Chicago Public School board, Penny Pritzker, see:  Fat cats richly rich of late - a comparative and sourced criticism of the nouveau "fair share" folks. To gain insight into other billionaires in government, see the footnote just below.

          In the ensuing six months, one finds:  "The Chicago Teachers Union said Tuesday that the school district is asking teachers to take a 7 percent pay cut in their next contract, an offer that portends tough negotiations in the weeks to come.." In "CPS asking teachers to take 7 percent pay cut, union says," by Juan Perez Jr., Chicago Tribune, 5 May 2015.

          Further, one reads:  "The district is behind because its been putting off paying some of these expenses for years. Instead its come up short on budgets, tapped into its rainy day fund, and put off contributing to the pension fund." In "Chicago Public Schools days away from going broke," by WGN Web Desk and Dana Rebik, WGN TV, Chicago, 22 June 2015.

          One might conclude that some school board members, declaring no conflict of interest, profit handily from the CPS as the CPS seeks a seven percent payroll cut. Cash-strapped yet profitable for some, deep in taxpayer-backed debt and and soon to be bankrupt? The picture clarifies in ways Chicagoan.  But not only Chicagoan, for the political mismanagement has spread.

          The school system is not the only "next" casualty. One reads:  "...Chicago’s unfunded liabilities are 10 times its revenues. 'Just assume that they’re going to have to pay 5% of that [number annually]. That means you’re looking at 50% of their cash that will have go to pensions.' Philadelphia, Boston, New York, Houston and other major cities will face similar challenges. 'What does it mean for cities to do this?' Inman asked. 'If that number is 50%, then $1 has to get you back at least twice the benefits [you spend]. That’s a very high threshold for city services to have to meet'." In "Underfunded Pensions: Tackling an 'Invisible' Crisis," Knowledge @ Wharton, University of Pennsylvania, 26 January 2015.

          Later in that article, one learns:   "Bailouts become 'an invitation to repeat the process once again. It becomes important to send a signal that you are not in this game helping anybody who gets into trouble'."

          Of course this conclusion will be contested by all those who call for bailouts, because "someone" should pay. Really?

          Other American municipalities have been bankrupted, as this incomplete list details:   "Gould, Arkansas (April, 2008); Vallejo, California (May, 2008); Westfall Township, Pennsylvania (April, 2009); Washington Park, Illinois (June, 2009); Pritchard, Alabama (October, 2009); Central Falls, Rhode Island (Aug., 2011); Boise County, Idaho (March, 2011); Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (Oct., 2011); Jefferson County, Alabama (Nov., 2011); Stockton, California (June, 2012); Mammoth Lakes, California (July, 2012); San Bernardino, California (August, 2012); Detroit, Michigan (July, 2013)." In "Which American municipalities have filed for bankruptcy?" PBS News Hour, 8 February 2014.

          The same response has come from all: "we ran out." The consistent factors are politicians and mismanagement, should one bother to connect the dots .

 

[ 5 ]     Other coverage tells some details:  "Mr. Emanuel’s proposed law attempts to shore up nearly $10 billion in unfunded liabilities in two of Chicago’s pensions by asking workers to accept benefit cuts in return for the city making higher annual payments. In a written ruling, Cook County Judge Rita M. Novak said the law 'contains provisions that diminish' pension benefits for individual workers, declaring it 'unconstitutional and void'." In "Chicago’s Pension Overhaul Plan Tossed Out by Judge," by Timothy W. Martin, Wall Street Journal, 24 July 2015.

          The latest version of the Constitution of the State of Illinois was adopted at special election, 15 December 1970. The provision in that constitution -- Article XIII, General Provisions, Section 5: Pension and Retirement Rights" -- reads: "Membership in any pension or retirement system of the State, any unit of local government or school district, or any agency or instrumentality thereof, shall be an enforceable contractual relationship, the benefits of which shall not be diminished or impaired."

          Thus a city or county law cannot supersede this Constitutional "right" in Illinois. The state government has made pension and retirement systems "of the state, and its units and agencies" unassailable, and in the process created a right for public employees which other citizens of the state cannot enjoy but must fund. The servants have become the masters, at first quietly, and now the state and its citizens reap the whirlwind of the coming economic mess. This is ironic, because the Preamble to this 1970 Constitution declares in part the governments' responsibility include to "maintain a representative and orderly government; eliminate poverty and inequality...."

          Orderly government has been upended with Chicago's and Chicago Public Schools' government bonds now being "junk," their debt unsustainable and an inequality as many public sector employees take away significantly higher pensions than most of those found in the public sector. And the whole teeters. See:  Under funding sharks .

 

[ 6 ]   The stunning news that officially Communist China, as a single party state, is in crisis should amuse. Why? Because the last century and a half have featured supposedly "scientific socialism" forward from 1848 as the great new economic principle. It never was such, when one examines Marx' personal finances and his management of his own resources. Aside from such seemingly little details, the idea that a book written in Great Britain by a German expatriate as worthy of study and its principles worth emulating is waning now.  For a looking back, see:  Capital for Communists - a story growing old.

          For the purposes of looking forward, one reads:   "For nearly three years, President Xi Jinping of China has crushed opposition by silencing and often locking up anyone who dares defy the government. But that aura of invincibility has been shaken by stock market speculators who have made a mockery of efforts to halt a steep slide in share prices. The losses — Chinese shares have shed more than a quarter of their value in three weeks — pose an added risk, and possibly greater danger, to a global economy grappling with Greece’s difficulties in repaying foreign loans and its possible exit from the euro. About $2.7 trillion in value has evaporated since the Chinese stock market peaked on June 12. That is six times Greece’s entire foreign debt, or 11 years of Greece’s economic output." In "China’s Market Rout Is a Double Threat," by Keith Bradsher and Chris Buckley, NYTimes, 5 July 2015.

          That a Communist, single-party state has a speculative stock market is itself an anomaly, as if the operators were hoping capital from outside China would flow in from investors around the world.

          Now, manipulation of this supposed "free" stock market is required by the same single-party socialist state. One reads on:  "Big market players were given no choice but to sign up to a government rescue. Brokerages promised not to sell shares until the Shanghai market had recovered 4,500 points. They had to reach into their pockets on the spot for $19bn (£12.2bn) in a stabilisation fund. All new share issues are suspended forthwith. The central bank will provide 'liquidity support', in other words turn on the lending tap, to help borrowers boost the market. These emergency measures follow a slew of others over the course of the past week. Taken together, they constitute a stunning retreat from market principles and suggest that at this point, the government itself has little confidence in its own financial markets." In "Panic, invincibility and blame in China's stock market," by Carrie Gracie, BBC, 6 July 2015.

          The key here is that the socialist government seeks to "boost the market" by simple debt, which in the private sector would encourage borrowing with which to gamble.

          One reads further:  "Regulators announced Sunday that they would make more capital available for an entity that will allow for even more margin lending, the practice of borrowing money to buy stocks. Buying on margin is incredibly risky. Many experts believe the Chinese stock market's surge earlier this year was partly due to average investors taking on debt to invest in stocks. And when stocks first started to fall last month, many of those investors had to quickly sell their investments to pay back the loans. That fueled an even bigger drop in stock prices." In "Greek crisis is nothing compared to China," by Paul R. La Monica, CNN, 7 July 2015.

          One notes no real-market valuation of the stocks representing companies, many of them state-owned businesses, and therefore it becomes a game of managers of state-owned business gambling by taking on debt in order to "play" a state-controlled stock market.

          Yet the story continues:   "China’s securities regulator banned major shareholders, corporate executives and directors from selling stakes in listed companies for six months, the latest effort to stop a $3.5 trillion rout in the nation’s equity market. Investors with stakes exceeding 5 percent must maintain their positions, the China Securities Regulatory Commission said in a statement." In "China Bans Stock Sales by Major Shareholders for Six Months," by Richard Frost, Bloomberg, 8 July 2015.

          When a regulator "bans" stock sales, what is occurring is more than a market action. It is a command action from centralized control of an economy.

          "The rule is intended to guard capital-market stability amid an “unreasonable plunge” in share prices, the CSRC said. While China has already ordered government-owned institutions to maintain or boost their stock holdings, the CSRC’s directive expands the ban on sales to non-state companies and potentially foreign investors who own major stakes in mainland businesses."

          Given that capitalism is supposed to be a free exchange within a market while socialism is an exchange between government-controlled and even government-owned entities, the report is telling. Essentially the central government is ordering its owned entities to "maintain or boost" in hopes of attracting "non-state companies and potentially foreign investors." The Sino-Socialist central command is looking for more capital, when in fact it could order its own national bank to issue more money. This suggests even the currency's relative value itself is being manipulated.

          "Unreasonable" is a central command attempting capital controls to create the image of a free and prosperous market.

          In short order, one finds:  "Over 700 Chinese companies have halted trading to "self preserve," according to the state media. That means about a quarter of the companies listed on China's two big exchanges -- the Shanghai and Shenzhen -- are no longer trading. China's stock markets are in trouble." In "Nearly 25% of Chinese stocks have stopped trading," by Heather Long, CNN, 7 July 2015.

          A comparison was drawn in an editorial:  "Trading halts add to China’s Potemkin market problem. Boom, bust and bailout are already making it hard for outsiders to take Chinese stocks seriously. An extraordinary slew of trading halts, trapping investors in hundreds of stocks, makes things worse. Bosses and bourses are buying temporary respite at the cost of their own credibility." In "Trade halts add to China’s Potemkin market problem," by Quentin Webb, Reuters, 9 July 2015.

          And then:   "...having gone all in, the Chinese government can't stop now, and after pledging half a trillion for its Plunge Protection Team (recall China skipped all the QE pleasantries and proceeded straight to buying stocks, launching a quasi-nationalization of the market and making the China Securities Finance Corp a Top 10 shareholder of numerous stocks), it will be forced to do even more, in the process crushing confidence that much more, since investors both offshore and domestic, realize that the fair value of stocks is far lower than current price ex. government intervention." In "Chinese Stocks Suffer Second Biggest Crash In History, 1,500 Companies Halted Limit Down," by Tyler Durden, Zero Hedge, 27 July 2015.

          The term seems apt.  "The phrase "Potemkin village" (also "Potyomkin village", derived from the Russian: Потёмкинские деревни, Potyomkinskiye derevni) was originally used to describe a fake portable village, built only to impress. According to the story, Grigory Potemkin erected the fake portable settlement along the banks of the Dnieper River in order to fool Empress Catherine II during her journey to Crimea in 1787. The phrase is now used, typically in politics and economics, to describe any construction (literal or figurative) built solely to deceive others into thinking that some situation is better than it really is. Some modern historians claim the original story is exaggerated." Wikipedia, n. d.

          The official Chinese Communist government has sought to offer people, and therefore capital, worldwide the impression that their market is "free" and operating like other Western stock markets, with the intent to raise capital for some enterprise(s). Given that many of the listed companies on the Chinese market are indeed state-owned, this is a contradiction in terms, and so very likely "built solely to deceive." The world reads media proclaiming that capitalism has failed, when in fact the pretense of capitalism as practiced by socialist governments is failing.

          The single-party Chinese state is not capitalist. But one reads:  "The spectacle of a communist regime trying to jack up a casino-like capitalist market is just one of the many contradictions that have been accumulating in almost every corner of China’s economy and politics. And now, their weight is perhaps becoming too heavy for the Party hierarchy to bear. Indeed, the composition of the CCP is itself a contradiction. The revolutionary party of peasants and workers is now dominated by businessmen, college students, and professionals. One-third of the people listed in the Hurun Report, the Shanghai-based monitor of China’s wealthiest people, are Party members. The average wealth of the richest 70 members of the National People’s Congress, China’s parliament, far exceeds $1 billion."  In "The Contradictions of China’s Communist Capitalism," by Pranab Bardhan, Project Syndicate, 16 July 2015.

          Rather than describing these 70 members as capitalist alongside being Communist (Sino-Socialist), it is clear that the Party hierarchy is enormously wealthy, though preaching a socialist doctrine, just as other single-party states have been. That "dictatorship of the proletariat" has proven again and again a power and wealth making device for "leaders."

          Even so, Bardhan notes:  "What the CCP refuses to recognize is that corruption cannot be rooted out as long as the Party maintains its monopoly on political power; with no organized opposition or functioning civil-society institutions, officials will continue to use their positions of public authority as a vehicle to generate personal wealth. The Third Plenum of the 18th Party Congress gave primacy to the principle of market competition; but, as a senior Chinese banker commented in a related context some years back: 'It’s quite hard to compete when you’re playing against the referee'."

          Thus in the eyes of the world single-party rule becomes all too easily synonymous with corruption, because it begins with the corruption of power itself, and extends to that corruption which easily explains how the socialist government is led by new billionaires.          

          But this is based on that Potemkin village which has been constructed and supported by socialist enthusiasts around the world as well as that "Plunge Protection Team," who fail to notice the billion Chinese who are poor according to Western standards of income and wealth. Rich Communist leaders and a Potemkin-like stock market? The picture is plain, and mid-2015 this stock market experiences the panic of various forms of capital control as the mechanisms of capital correction menace "China's Communist Capitalism," as Bardhan terms it. While China's state-controlled stock market remains above its historical lows, the image presented to real foreign investors with real currency funds is eroding, the pretense intended to lure them in being clearly seen now. Markets are not about control but rather competition, as about wins but also losses. That which succeeds simply succeeds and that which fails simply loses.

          Which losers in this particular game will blame capitalism in a Communist, single party state? Perhaps like the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, China's one-party Potemkin state is quickly finding itself Freshly out of options .

 

[ 7 ]   The unambiguous statement by the government agency in charge is cited, because the political sides of American politics play predictable angles in the conclusion of this agency's report. Basic arithmetic and clear calculations are remarkable stubborn to obscure with political prose. It is simply a matter of blindly Doing the math - blindly on politics' path.


 

There's a fad - the good with the bad

There's a fad! Let's jump for joy!
Let's go for it, leaping both feet first!
Out with the old and in with the new,
Electing all best, even the worst.

It's new! It's edgy! It's all the rage!
Into an unknown immersed!
Each fashionable fancy's on parade!
For nouveau's novelty's a thirst.

There's a craze! That next craziest craze,
Which onto life's stages has burst.
Mania's modish mangling mush
Is so vogue, so vaguely rehearsed.

There's a fad! Let's leap, not look!
Let's grab at it, diving head first!
Out with the lame, and in with what's next!
Deep wounds can later be nursed.


 

stir the pot

stir the pot
of slogan soup
postmodern drips
from changing loop
to say what is
once was not
and what once was
turns tommyrot
gobbledygook pretension
words the world
with terminal terminology
as the pot is season swirled
stir that pot
with slogans rich
and flavor it
with boast and bitch
for this world's
agitations itch
with scratched new terms
which tremble, twitch
when meaning's tossed
and tumbled round
to twist the world
until it's bound
to stir its pot
of slogan soup
served bright cool hot

a reddened goop
what shall it mean
each stewpot scoop
served ladled fresh
by a nincompoop
who makes it up
as he goes along
for ever changing
is his slogan song


 

Disapproval

"It seems equally certain that Schoenberg, who conducted the concert, disliked Berg's songs. This disapproval from his beloved teacher, and the disastrous public reception of his first orchestral work, wounded Berg's feelings so deeply that he never again tried to get a performance for them, although he did publish Song V as a piano-vocal in 1921. It seems easy to speculate that, if circumstances had been more favorable, Berg would eventually prepared a definitive fair copy of the orchestral score for publication and seen it through the engraving and proof stages for printing." In "Preface," Fünf Orchesterlieder (Berg), Universal Edition, 1997.

    Disapproval? Step right up.
That is the way of art.
They say it isn't but it is,
And has been from the start.
    The answer is to persevere
When others wish you ill.
What is art but life's pursuit
In sinews of artistic will.
    Wait for approval? Tick then tock,
As grinds away the approving clock.
Much approved in time now past
Lost its grip on approval's lock.
    Disapproval? Persevere.
Critics? All words, some smear.
Seek nothing more than doing
The doing without the fear.


  

Sing the words and speak the rhymes

Sing the words and speak the rhymes.
     Aloud do words sting ringing chimes.
Chant and carol, chirp and trill;
     Speak into thought a daffodil.
Declaim the claim, and utter loud
     To tear aside the unvoiced cloud.
Light flares bright when uttered quite
     In words of speech and songs' delight.
Speak the rhymes and sing the words,
     Giving flight to wingless birds.
Being speaks sung utterance
     In twisting lines and played descants.
Words well sung, as words in speech,
     Deeply into all men reach.


  

Jack and Jill

Jack and Jill went up the hill
To pitch their pail of gender.
Jack turned Jill, and Jill turned Jack
As fluids spun in a blender.

Jill Jack was, and this because,
As scripts the plot, he'd got that slot.
Reassigned or misaligned?
The juggernaut then twisted taut.

Jill, now Jack, had lost her knack;
No baby Jill went up the hill.
The he and she of infertility
Did then distill their barren pill.


 

Everything is bias

Everything is bias, except my very own,
                                for I am left to show
                                no bias, none at all.
Everything's subjective, except my fitting views,
                                which I crow as you'll find in
                                my stated protocol.
There are no standards is my most standard line
                                for I alone adjudicate,
                                if only you'd recall.
My web of solipsism nets any and everything
                                and if you seek escape, it is me
                                who'd denounce your errant fall.
Everything and anything, as all things round my center,
                                speak singularly subjectively.
                                Now won't you heed my call?
Everything will be bias, except my very own,
                                for I am left to lie about,
                                no bias, no, none at all.

 

Addendum of the Missing:   "There were themes of profound importance to me which I found missing in the orthodox histories that dominated American culture. The consequence of those admissions has been not simply to give a distorted view of the past but, more important, to mislead us all about the present." In "A People's History of the United States, 1492-Present," Howard Zinn, Harper Perennial, 1980, 2001.

 

Addendum of the Many Dead by Government:   "...many researchers in international relations and comparative government are convinced of freedom’s power for peace, and top American leaders are now basing foreign policy on it, there is a vast ignorance of this solution to violence among the general public. Realizing that entertainment is one of the best ways of conveying knowledge,I hope this 'Never Again' series will help fill this void. In addition, there is also a black hole in general knowledge about how many people have been murdered by governments. Probably about 170,000,000 from 1900 to 1987, as John taught. This is almost five times as many as were killed in combat in all international and domestic wars over the same period. The number murdered would head to toe circle the earth about four times." In "Never Again," R. J. Rummel, Llumina Press, 2004.   [ 1 ]

 

Addendum of Historical Materialism:   ""In the social production of their existence, men inevitably enter into definite relations, which are independent of their will, namely relations of production appropriate to a given stage in the development of their material forces of production. The totality of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society, the real foundation, on which arises a legal and political superstructure and to which correspond definite forms of consciousness. The mode of production of material life conditions the general process of social, political and intellectual life. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness." In "Preface," to "A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy," Karl Marx, 1859.  [ 2 ]

 

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]  While the modern and now orthodox (for its popularity in academia) "people's history" of Zinn speaks of distorted views of the past and things missing in written histories, his is errant too. It must be because, at the minimum, the vast nature of the subject. Rummel tabulated what he terms "democide" - the murder of a people by their own governments -- and in this he presents a more complete picture of the histories of many peoples with far less anecdotal evidence.

          While Zinn's history critical of America depicts a look back at his orthodoxy of genocide as well racial and class struggle, Rummel's numerical tabulation shows a far more murderous history of governments -- plural -- throughout a swath of history proving that it is power and wealth which accumulates under such ostensibly opposite monikers as capitalism and socialism, per se. In fact, the two most murderous governments of the 20th century were, in order, the Sino-Socialist government of China and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, especially under Stalin. The atrocities of Hitler's National Socialist come in third in this horrific compilation of those "murdered by government," as Rummel phrases it.

          Zinn misses this, for his "people's history" focused on the United States and its admitted faults is a distant runner up to "five times as many... as were killed in combat in all international and domestic wars over the same period." Bias in focus is evident then, but to what end? For one historian it is the desire to focus on some parts of history while turning aside from others.

          It is in fact partisan. One reads:  "History, by its nature, is always a selection out of the past of an enormous amount of data. What you select out of that data to present in a book or a lecture suggests what your point of view is. The selection is inevitably partisan. You select things that are unprovocative and harmless or the facts of history that will really provoke thinking and action." In "Howard Zinn on Making History," by Judith Orr, Socialist Review, June 2007.

 

[ 2 ]  One should note the proponent of the famous "dictatorship of the proletariat" painted a picture of "the consciousness of men" -- our consciousness -- as determined by their "social existence," one may rub Marx and Rummel together to conclude with as little bias as is possible that an estimated 170 million people and their "social existence" were eradicated by other men and their "social existence." The commonality was grasping at power and wealth, and the largest measure was under the rubric of socialist theory and practice.

          See:  Socialists love money  and  Capital for Communists - a story growing old. 

          Thus one finds the bias of a "people's history" is not only partisan, per the above, but in the case of social existence theory, distinctly Marxist.

          "People should not be retreating from the word socialism. You have more and more people talking about it because you have to go beyond capitalism. Capitalism has failed. And for those people who think, oh socialism means bureaucracy or socialism means centralization, no. Socialism is open to various forms. But the fundamental principle in socialism is production for use and not for profit. I remember learning that expression: an economic system for use, for human beings and not for profit." In "You have to go beyond capitalism," Howard Zinn interviewed by Dave Zirin, International socialist Review, Issue 66, July 2009.

          See:   People before profits  .

          This becomes amusing because profit from book sales at Harper Collins funds "A People's History of the United States," as to profits redistributed in the form of taxes under government authority fund college history professors teaching "not for profit" theories. This becomes all the more ironic given that Rummel's texts and research were made available free while Zinn's texts and research are marketed -- for profit. Socialism is "open to various forms," opines Zinn, as long as socialists make profits which they can declare not profit.          

          So lips schism, and men's supposed "social existence... determines their consciousness." Were this in any way true and social existence actually would determine consciousness, then all would think along the same political lines. Alas, this is untrue, though such a lovely expression of "scientific socialism." Else, all the committed political theorist or historian need do for today is point to that nation, government or society which has proven a theory rooted in 19th century romanticism.

          The next historian need then document where exactly "not for profit" functions in human society. It certainly has not been in officially socialist nations. Yet the call is zealous, even today orthodox among the academics. One reads, "No doubt, many or most of those drawn to socialism felt some sense of humane idealism, but its demands were deflected outward onto society as a whole. If this is what made the religion of socialism so attractive, it also explains what made it so destructive. Religion is ubiquitous, reaching far back into the human dawn...."   In " Heaven on Earth: the Rise and Fall of Socialism," Joshua Muravchik, Encounter Books, 2002.

          The pretense by Marx as by other like Owen that socialism is somehow scientific is fallacious. Else Rummel's documented numbers of people murdered by their own governments -- including officially socialist governments -- would be explained somehow by capitalism failing, or by social existence determining social consciousness. Rather historical materialism has failed. Muravchick notes: "Engels and Marx replaced experimental socialism with prophetic socialism, and claimed thereby to have progressed from utopia to science." Yet, the science of Rummel's very basic and comprehensive data collection speaks not to utopia turned to science but scientific socialism having bred the most murderous governments of the last century. A history which fails to observe this is not history but political polemic.  The assertion that socialism has become a science has but one lasting effect: it demands that it no longer be called into question. Thus it has become "the religion of socialism." With only that approved of bias which purport to correct a "distorted view of the past" by ignoring so much of it.

       Rummel's observation that there is a "black hole in general knowledge about how many people have been murdered by governments" speaks directly to that historian who will critique America's historical sins by proposing the one most murderous governmental system of the last century -- the dictatorship of the proletariat -- as antidote to historical sins.


 

Spring - paraphrase of a text by Theodor Fontane

It is now at last appeared
In green buds bursting free.
»It came, it came with silent stealth,«
Nods each now green-leafed tree.

All could barely wait for this,
As now bright shoots are swelled;
In a garden an gnarled apple tree,
Though reluctant, is so compelled.

Hesitates too the hoary heart
When breath is struggling play;
It fears and rues: »'Tis only March,
And March is not yet in May.«

O shake off that dreary dream,
And old winter's frigid sleep,
Spring urges on the old apple tree,
Heart, you've spring's quest to keep!


 

Do not laugh - paraphrase of a text by Wilhelm Busch

Do not laugh, if through the years
Love and kindness bid adieu;
What happened to our little Pauline
Can also happen to you.

Look and see the changes
In that dear old kitchen broom.
It, which softly swept all clean,
Is soon rough and bent with gloom.


 

I am traveled - paraphrase of a text by Hans Bötticher

I am traveled through sorrow and woe
From far, so far and long ago.
My heart is worn: I neither see nor know
Spring's once resplendent youth filled show.

That pathway back will I nevermore find,
Already to ashen age am I inclined;
To then one path must I be resigned,
Toward heaven's gate am I thus consigned.


 

Oh, what a tangled web we weave

Oh, what a tangled web we weave
When 'we're so smart's' what we believe.
Some things we simply will not perceive;
Among them man's will to other men deceive.

When tangling webs tangle, the tanglers grieve
As in tangling self-caught, they've proven naive.
When opposite reactions interleave,
Still tanglers urge on their make-believe.

Envoi:    FAB = - FBA


 

The snake

The snake sheds its skin to find within
                    it's an older snake with the same old grin.
The snake, it's said, sparked original sin,
                    and snaking through time are its sinning kin.
Men spin stories like snakes shed skin;
                    rarely men, like snakes, show any chagrin.


 

When your argument's weak

When your argument's weak, the desk you'll pound and thunder loud as to expound
                thousands of words when a picture would do, excepting its truth well arrayed against you.
In the heat of the battle, you'll heat your words to hurl them as if angry birds
                would gather and grouse and dive and tear, because losing your argument is deemed unfair.
When your argument's poor, the greatest of speech becomes little more than an insipid screech,
                that of someone with a losing cause who'd sharpen the longest, tearing-est claws,
rather than admit the argument's dulled, and accurate rebuttal is too easily culled
                directly from details in that losing cause which never, never ever should be allowed pause
to abandon the field to a victor so slight as the truth against which you intended to fight.
                Some things are just what they really are, no argument changes reality's bar.
Measure yourself by a shifting rule, and you tally up to a shiftless fool.

                Man's scheme is longer than millennia's count and it's foolish great wisdoms to today discount.
The lessons insist on being learned yet again as men make a habit of forgetting them
                when they mount up an argument with vanity's tongue which tastes then discovers vanity's dung.
History's not written by winners nor fools, nor by losers nor by idiots' tools.
                History is what, when the rhetoric dies, all arguments wither when seeing past lies.  

 

Addendum of a Weak Argument being Proven:   "State-run health insurance markets that offer coverage under President Barack Obama's health law are struggling with high costs and disappointing enrollment. These challenges could lead more of them to turn over operations to the federal government or join forces with other states. Hawaii's marketplace, the latest cautionary tale, was awarded $205 million in federal startup grants. It has spent about $139 million and enrolled 8,200 customers for individual coverage in 2015. Unable to sustain itself, the state marketplace is turning over sign-ups to the federal HealthCare.gov for 2016." In "State health insurance markets struggle with cost challenges," by Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Associated Press, 26 July 2015      [ 1 ]

  

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]   Prose carries messages of political visions of success and words of "struggle" and "disappointment."  From the data above for Hawaii's unsustainable "marketplace," one learns the per capita cost of enrollment and administration.  $139 million / 8,200 customers = $16,951.22 per customer.

          What "marketplace" spends $16K per customer to open a market? Is not a market a place to at least break even, if not profit to some degree? What investment is willing to risk and then lose $16K per client?

          One looks back at the political promise:  "During his first run for president, Barack Obama made one very specific promise to voters: He would cut health insurance premiums for families by $2,500, and do so in his first term. But it turns out that family premiums have increased by more than $3,000 since Obama's vow, according to the latest annual Kaiser Family Foundation employee health benefits survey. Premiums for employer-provided family coverage rose $3,065 — 24% — from 2008 to 2012, the Kaiser survey found. Even if you start counting in 2009, premiums have climbed $2,370." In "Health Premiums Up $3,065; Obama Vowed $2,500 Cut," Yahoo/Finance, 24 September 2012.

          The differential between the political vision of success and the numerical words of reality are apparent and no longer an argument worth having.   $5,565 in no weak argument, but proof that a seemingly strong political argument was nothing but words.


 

Experts say

'The experts say' is an empty phrase
            which names no names to check.
'Most experts say' is tossed about
            because -- well -- what the heck.
Without a name, 'the experts say'
            allows no trails nor seeds.
Without a way to double check
            'the experts say' misleads.
Opinions wise, 'the experts say,'
            are this, but wait, then that.
'The experts say,' experts agree,
            is journalistic chat
To assert without a name to cite,
            to palm an ace's rhetorical flight,
to bandy the unnamed unknowable
            as if seen with clearest sight.
Contentiously contend, the circled paths
            lead nowhere but to themselves,
this is what 'most experts say,'
            when into no names no one delves.
'Experts say,' and then 'they' claim,
            and then 'they' rally round,
And then 'they' dictate, broach no reply,
            for that's what such 'experts' expound.
'Experts say' that you are not
            among their exalted class,
And for this assertion you should know
            each unnamed expert is an ass,
and those who say 'the experts say'
            should not be given pass
To pass off bunkum as great depth
            'as experts say' is said.
When one hears 'the experts say,'
            then plan on being plain misled.

 

Addendum of Being Beyond the Point of No Return:   "Many experts say we have to start seriously reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2015, or we may  [ 1 ]   pass a point of no return." In "'Earth 2100': the Final Century of Civilization?" by Alexa Danner, ABC News, 29 May 2009.

 

Addendum of Expert Opposites:   "In an effort to offer balance—and to entertain viewers with a lively verbal jousting match—news outlets lined up people with opposing views. In one corner were health experts who supported the vaccine. In the other were charismatic quacks or parents who were utterly convinced that the vaccine had made their children autistic (and whose genuine grief swayed many viewers). In America minor celebrities have joined this mix." In "What experts say, and what people hear," by N. L., Economist, 5 February 2015.

 

Addendum of Could Have:   "A decade after hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, experts say the flooding that caused over 1,800 deaths and billions of dollars in property damage could have been prevented had the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers retained an external review board to double-check its flood-wall designs." In "Flood damage after Hurricane Katrina could have been prevented, experts say." Missouri University of Science and Technology, in Science Daily, 24 August 2015.

 

Addendum of Expert Inanity:  "WIT is adamant that there’s no immediate danger, however. 'Currently, solar panels are an energy niche, and do not pose a serious risk to the sun. But if we converted our grids to solar energy in a big way, with panels on domestic homes and commercial businesses, and paving our parking lots with panels, we’d start seeing very serious problems over time. If every home in the world had solar panels on their roofs, global temperatures would drop by as much as thirty degrees over twenty years, and the sun could die out within three hundred to four hundred years'." In "Solar Panels Drain the Sun’s Energy, Experts Say," by Matt Rock, National Report, 29 December 2014.    [ 2 ]

 

Addendum of Experts Saying Stock Prices Go Up and Down:   "The opposing forces of economic sentiment that briefly drove U.S. stocks down more than 1,000 points in early trading Monday, then took investors on a wild roller-coaster ride for the remainder of the session, were hardly dissipated by their exertions, most experts say." In "Stock Markets' Wild Ride Likely Just the Beginning, Experts Say," by Mike Brunker, NBC News, 25 August 2015.     [ 3 ]

 

 Addendum of Expert Perspectives:   "That is one perspective. Here's another." In "China Is Weak And Bloated By Government Investment, Experts Say," Steve Inskeep interview of Anne Stevenson-Yang," National Public Radio, 21 August 2015.     [ 4 ]

 

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]   "...we may pass the point of no return."  Or we might not. Apparently the media is not expert enough to report the clarity of experts sure enough to assert something outright without the use of those clever words, Could and May   - an up-to-date play.

 

[ 2 ]    Yup, solar panels are going to kill off the sun, experts say, "within three hundred to four hundred years."  One should often consider the Apocalypse sometime  .  For some, that apocalypse is coming soon, and for a variety of reasons.

 

[ 3 ]    When have stock and bond prices not fluctuated, and when the fluctuations have been greater than normal, when have the experts not used the descriptor, "roller-coaster?" Sometimes All the news is screaming .  One might also consider the roller-coaster of global temperatures over millions of years, when considering Globaloney  - sung to the children's tune, "Baa, baa black sheep." Experts say many things, and other experts say many things, and...

 

[ 4 ]    One may be assured that other experts say, "here's another perspective," and then another, and then.... So many perspectives and so little time. Of that experts say, it is prudent to think perhaps  It's too good to be true  - this applies to you.


 

Hardships

People deal with hardships,
Hardships to overcome;
Yet life itself is deadly,
And so we must succumb.

Given basic truth like this,
Truth urges -- struggle well,
For in the struggle good things bloom,
On our wiggly-woggled carousel.

Guarantees are fictions,
In the largest scheme of things,
But of this one may be guaranteed,
That out from struggles life still springs.


 

Pleas, no thank you

The budget season's coming 'round;
We're served catastrophes
To pry wide open wallets' folds
With loudly shrieking pleas.
        It is the season to wail aloud,
        Bemoaning all that ails,
        But much that ails is the budget game,
        And its appetite never fails.
More and more, comes the cry;
The worst is yet to come,
For truly what would be the worst
Is a smaller budget, so say some.
        The budget season's bursting wide
        Its imagery of grief and doom,
        With the only answer, as ere was,
        For more is what they would consume.
Pleas, no thank you, more must come
Is the cycle's turns in time,
For thanks is never quite enough
As the seasons' budgets climb.


 

Ideas knock

Ideas knock;
Let them in.
Sit awhile and chat.
     Tick tocks the clock;
     Things begin,
     Traced to this and that.

Some structure forms,
As it must,
Rooting to the whole.
     What comes informs,
     Up from dust
     Where sweet sings the soul.

Ideas soar;
Heed said arc.
Watch and keen observe.
     What would you more?
     Strike the spark,
     Passion will well serve.

Ideas lurk;
Guard them well,
Nurtured as they grow.
     Of this day's work,
     Time will tell
     Through time's afterglow.


 

Sounding shapes

Some sounding shape of melody tumbles
To shape harmonic sands;
Rhythm leaps or stumbles
As a structured scheme demands.
     As to charm or to irritate,
     Entertain or twist a tale,
     By leaps and bounds accentuate
     The members on a scale.
One and many, all conspire
As cascades the sounding thing
To climb, to soar, to shriek and laugh
To scratch, blow, hit and sing.
     Sounding shapes a tuneful thought
     Thematic in it ways,
     And overjoyed shall I be
     For this throughout my days.


 

If you find your conformity

"It is especially strange that this conformism claims to speak in the name of freedom, when in fact it doesn’t much like freedom at all. I suggest that we actually think about this." In "The sinister, screeching mob who want to kill free speech (And no, I DON'T mean the Islamist terrorists in our midst)," by Peter Hitchens, Daily Mail UK, 11 January 214.

 

If you find your conformity
   confines you in your world,
   then your freedom well might be
   well snuffed for being furled.

If you feel your conformity
   becoming shackles, chains which bind,
   feel free and break them gleefully
   that freedom's standards wide unwind.

If in freedom's march you fall
   as conformists act out conformists' rage,
   you will not have vainly fallen, all
   is a step on history's freedom page.

When you've found conformity
   is required of your daily life,
   you have stumbled into that tyranny
   with which conformity is rife.

If you find your conformity,
   consider well where it is kept;
   freedom chafes when in a bind
   and will conformity not accept.

 

Envoi:    "A fantastic thing is happening in our world. Today a man is no longer punished only for the crimes he has in fact committed. Now he may be compelled to confess to crimes that have been conjured up by his judges, who use his confession for political purposes. It is not enough for us to damn as evil those who sit in judgment. We must understand what impels the false admission of guilt; we must take another look at the human mind in all its frailty and vulnerability." In "The Rape of the Mind: The Psychology of Thought Control, Menticide, and Brainwashing," Joost A. M. Meerloo, M.D., Progressive Press, 2009 (first published in 1956).


 

Do not just hold a vigil

 

"With explosions and gunfire, security forces Friday ended three days of terror around Paris, killing the two al-Qaida-linked brothers who staged a murderous rampage at a satirical newspaper and an accomplice who seized hostages at a kosher supermarket to try to help the brothers escape. The worst terrorist violence France has seen in decades killed at least 20 people, including the three gunmen. A fourth suspect — the common law wife of the market attacker — was still at large and believed to be armed. Al-Qaida's branch in Yemen said it directed the attack against the publication Charlie Hebdo to avenge the honor of the Prophet Muhammad, a frequent target of the weekly's satire." In "French security forces kill gunmen, end terror rampage," by Lori Hinnant and Elaine Ganley, Associated Press, 9 January 2015.   [ 1 ]

 

Do not just hold a vigil
While there's gunfire at your door.
Do not just bring a candle
Against the windy gunfire roar.

Do not just gush with feeling
When actions must loud speak.
Do not stand firm on principle
Which saps to make you weak.

There are times and places
When violence in return
Is what the fates have ordered
Even should that world burn.

Fight or flee, they both are us
When choice might chosen be,
But fighting is all that one has
When one simply cannot flee.

Striking back against a strike
Is physics, reactions' fists.
Sometimes one must just strike back
For by this proud life exists.

 

Do not just cry with anguish
And think this answers pleas.
Do not stand on said principle
Which brings you to your knees.

 

Yes, hold the vigil also
Against grim terror at your door.
You'll need more than a candle

To survive the well-fought war.

 

 Envoi:   "These battles cannot be viewed in any case whatsoever as isolated battles, but rather, as part of a chain of the long, fierce, and ugly crusader war. Every Muslim must stand under the banner of There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is God's Prophet." In "Bin Laden rails against Crusaders and UN," BBC, 2 November 2001.   [ 2 ]

 

Addendum of a Comic's Serious View:   "We have to stop saying when something like this that happened in Paris today, we have to stop saying, well, we should not insult a great religion. First of all, there are no great religions. They're all stupid and dangerous. And we should insult them and we should be able to insult whatever we want. That is what free speech is like. There are certain people in the world who want wafers on free speech. Kim Jong- un in North Korea says you cannot make jokes about our country, and there's a lot of Muslim people in the world. I know most Muslim people would not have carried out an attack like this. But here's the important point. Hundreds of millions of them support an attack like this. They applaud an attack like this. What they say is, we don't approve of violence, but you know what, when you make fun of the prophet, all bets are off." In "Bill Maher on Paris: 'This Is Like Groundhog Day, Except If The Groundhog Kept Getting His Head Cut Off'," RealClearPolitics, 8 January 2015.

 

Addendum of a Historian's View:   "...the freedom to write history without intimidation was no longer something that I took for granted. But I also had learned that it was possible, when my work came under attack, to defend it without yielding to threats. I have not changed my mind. My experience did not remotely approach the horror of the massacre at Charlie Hebdo, but just as its staff were willing to die in defense of what they saw as the legacy of Diderot, so should historians be conscious of what is at stake in defense of the legacy of Gibbon. Compared with satirists and polemicists, we stand a good way back from the front line, but none of us should be in any doubt that we are in the same fight." In "When I Questioned the History of Muhammad, British scholar Tom Holland found himself in a firestorm—and under threat—when he raised doubts about the traditional account of the origins of Islam," by Tom Holland, Wall Street Journal, 9 January 2015.

 

Addendum of Probable Gross and Shameful Capitulation:   "Now a secondary result of the Hebdo bombings has been a move by our society to censor itself in ways it wasn't willing to before the attacks. Beyond all of that, the publish-or-not issue is a controversy only an intellectual could talk himself into. There’s been talk, both before the Hebdo attacks and since, that the cartoons were 'silly provocations' (this was Le Figaro's pre-attack judgment) and that other similar satires were just so much 'oil on the fire' (this was what French foreign minister Laurent Fabius said, also prior to the attack). The implication is that, yes, we have a right to be offensive, but let's not be offensive this time, maybe just this once, because — and this is the part that's usually not said out loud — this particular group of satire targets is more than unusually violent and nuts and struggles more even than the average fundamentalist on the sense of humor front. That point of view is a gross and shameful capitulation." In "Cartoons Are Worth Fighting For," by Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone, 8 January 2015.

 

Addendum of the Declared War by Jihadists:   "The deadly attacks in Paris serve as a vivid reminder that jihadists are at war with those they disagree with, and the world must confront them, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Thursday. 'The international jihadist movement has declared war. They have declared war on anybody who does not think and act exactly as they wish they'd think and act,' Harper told reporters when asked about Wednesday's attack." In "Jihadists have declared war, world must respond: Canada's Harper," by Julie Gordon, Reuters, 8 January 2015.   [ 3 ]

 

 Addendum of a Charlie Hebdo Editorial on the Jihadists' Way:   "The first task of the guilty is to blame the innocent. It's an almost perfect inversion of culpability. From the bakery that forbids you to eat what you like, to the woman who forbids you to admit that you are troubled by her veil, we are submerged in guilt for permitting ourselves such thoughts. And that is where and when fear has started its sapping, undermining work. And the way is marked for all that will follow." In "How did we end up here?" a Charlie Hebdo editorial, 30 March 2016.

 

Addendum of the Call for a Revolution against Extremism in Islam:   "Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has called for a 'religious revolution,' asking Muslim leaders to help in the fight against extremism. In a speech celebrating the birthday of the Prophet Muḥammad, which coincided with New Year's Day, he said they had no time to lose. 'I say and repeat, again, that we are in need of a religious revolution. You imams are responsible before Allah. The entire world is waiting on you. The entire world is waiting for your word ... because the Islamic world is being torn, it is being destroyed, it is being lost. And it is being lost by our own hands,' el-Sisi said." In "Egypt's President calls for a 'religious revolution'," by Dana Ford, Salma Abdelaziz and Ian Lee, CNN, 6 January 2015.    [ 4 ]

 

Addendum of a Cartoonist Scorning New Friends:   "A prominent Dutch cartoonist at Charlie Hebdo heaped scorn on the French satirical weekly's 'new friends' since the massacre at its Paris offices on Wednesday. 'We have a lot of new friends, like the pope, Queen Elizabeth and (Russian President Vladimir) Putin. It really makes me laugh,' Bernard Holtrop, whose pen name is Willem, told the Dutch centre-left daily Volkskrant in an interview published today. France's far-right National Front leader 'Marine Le Pen is delighted when the Islamists start shooting all over the place,' said Willem, 73, a long-time Paris resident who also draws for the French leftist daily Liberation. He added: 'We vomit on all these people who suddenly say they are our friends'." In "‘We vomit’ on Charlie Hebdo’s sudden friends, staff cartoonist says," Agence France Presse via Malay Mail, 10 January 2015.   [ 5 ]

 

Addendum Asking To Whom the Future Belongs:   " If the future does not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam—in other words, to people who speak freely and offensively—then it belongs to those who would suppress by force any criticism of religion. This is not an American idea, and it certainly isn’t Charlie." In "We Are Not All Charlie," by Jeffrey Goldberg, Atlantic, 8 January 2015.   [ 6 ]

 

Addendum of Modern Schisms in Islam:   "Al-Qaida and the Islamic State group roughly take elements from two relatively modern strands. One is the writing of Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood thinker Sayed Qutb, with its tenets that Muslim society has fallen from faith and violent jihad must be waged to bring 'God's rule.' The other is Wahhabism, a reform movement with a strict, literal and uncompromising interpretation of texts aimed at purging Islam of innovations. Wahhabism became the official doctrine of Saudi Arabia, which has promoted it around the Muslim world. State religious institutions across the region, meanwhile, are widely criticized as stagnant. Government control has undermined their credibility among both liberal Muslims and militants. That was clear when Saudi Arabia's top religious body, the Council of Senior Scholars, condemned the Paris attack and called it 'unacceptable under any justification.' That prompted a torrent of derision on Twitter from militant sympathizers who accused the clerics of doing the bidding of the U.S.-allied Saudi monarchy and protecting those who insult Muhammad. 'The masks fall and reveal those who lick the boots of dictators,' one proclaimed." In "Violence fuels debate among Muslims over interpreting faith," by Lee Keath, Associated Press (Cairo) 10 January 2015.

 

Addendum Wondering If a Muslim Can Be an Islamophobe:   "'It is incomprehensible that you can turn against freedom,' Mayor Aboutaleb told Dutch current affairs program Nieuwsuur (Newshour). 'But if you don't like freedom, for heaven's sake pack your bags and leave. If you do not like it here because some humorists you don't like are making a newspaper, may I then say you can f*** off. This is stupid, this so incomprehensible. Vanish from the Netherlands if you cannot find your place here. All those well-meaning Muslims here will now be stared at'." In "Moroccan-born mayor of Rotterdam tells fellow Muslims who do not appreciate the 'freedoms' of living in the West to 'pack your bags and f*** off' on live TV," by Sara Malm, Daily Mail UK, 13 January 2015.

 

Addendum of the Marketing Windfall:   "On Wednesday, the new issue vanished from kiosks immediately. Some newsstand operators said they expected more copies to arrive on Thursday. One kiosk near the Champs Elysees, open at 6 a.m., was sold out by 6:05. Another, near Saint-Lazar, reported fisticuffs among customers. 'Distributing Charlie Hebdo, it warms my heart because we say to ourselves that he is still here, he's never left,' said Jean-Baptiste Saidi, a van driver delivering copies well before dawn on Wednesday. French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve was among those to get a copy before they sold out. 'I rediscovered their liberty of tone,' he told France-Inter radio, describing the issue as one of 'tender impertinence'." In "France arrests 54 for defending terror; newspaper sells out," by Lori Hinnant, Associated Press, 14 January7 2015.   [ 7 ]

 

Addendum of the Hebdo Murders Opening Comment Worldwide:   "...'France and the world must slam 'the useful idiots of a radical Islam immersed in the sociology of poverty and frustration.' He adds, 'Those whose faith is Islam must proclaim very loudly, very often, and in great numbers their rejection of this corrupt and abject form of theocratic passion. ... Islam must be freed from radical Islam.' So three very different people -- a young southern governor who may run for president, the political leader of the largest Muslim population in the world, and a prominent Western European intellectual -- are saying that most of the problem and most of the solution rests with the people of the Islamic religion themselves. If they fail to take action, the radicals will swallow up the whole religion and cause the destruction of the entire Middle East and possibly large swaths of the rest of the world." In "Jindal's Brilliant Take on Radical Islam," by Larry Kudlow, Creators, 17 January 2015.    [ 8 ]

 

Addendum of Insulting Feelings:   "Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam, said Wednesday it deplored the continued 'mocking of Islam' by French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. The kingdom is 'surprised, and deplored' the publication last week of a new cartoon of the Muslim prophet Mohammed, the state Saudi Press Agency said, citing a source at the foreign ministry. 'The kingdom does not find any justification for such deliberate abuse against Islam, which insults the feelings of 1.5 billion Muslims around the world,' the source said." In "Saudi Arabia deplores Charlie Hebdo continued 'mocking of Islam'," Al Arabiya, 22 January 2015.    [ 9 ]

 

Addendum of an American Muslim Published in Israel:   "The cartoons are not concerned with Islam, but with the way some Muslims exercise Islam. Nor did they create a perception. They merely reflected existing images created by extremists themselves, and those who tacitly support them, of Muslims as irrational, impulsive, logically incompetent, rationally illiterate and mentally handicapped. While we may not want to admit it, these images are based on the stark truth as many see it today. If this image is wrong, then we Muslims bear the burden to show otherwise. Terrorism today stems primarily from Muslims in the name of Islam, and we cannot brush off accusations about our faith just by saying that the terrorists do not act in our name. Nor can we resort to crying “Islamophobia” when the perception of violent, rights-abusing Muslims arises. For these images to change, Muslims must be at the forefront of countering Islamic radicalization in the Middle East and in our adopted countries. It is only then that the images of Muslims in satirical magazines will reflect a different reality." In "Only Muslims can change the world’s view of Islam," by Mohammed Wattad, Jerusalem Post, 26 January 2015.

 

Addendum of Another Muslim Challenging Muslims:   " 'The link between people committing barbaric acts throughout the world is that they think of themselves as Muslim. As long as Muslims refuse to look at that honestly...I think it's not very serious intellectually and dubious morally and it's shocking this point is going to keep on coming'." In "France likely to close more than 100 mosques," by Anealla Safdar, AlJazeera, 3 December 2015.

 

Addendum - What's in a Name:   "All the euphemisms politicians demand we must use to avoid calling Islamic State 'Islamic State' therefore call Islamic State 'Islamic State'. How can they not, for that is its name? And it is no more up to outsiders to change a group’s name than it is up to you to change the names of your acquaintances. Assuming the politicians know what they are doing, they must believe that many voters will not know what 'Isil' and 'Isis' stand for, or only Arabic speakers will understand the meaning of 'Daesh'. In other words, they are relying on ignorance and hoping to foster ignorance too. Why the lies? Why the resort to the magical belief that you can change the world by changing language? The overly cynical response that politicians lie all the time won’t wash." In "Isil stands for Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. Does David Cameron not realise this?" by Nick Cohen, Spectator UK, 2 July 2015.

 

Addendum of Continuing Jihad in Paris:   "Unlike the response in January after attacks at the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and elsewhere left 17 dead, there were no grand public appeals for solidarity with Muslims after the Friday attacks that left 129 dead in Paris. There were no marches, few pleas not to confuse practitioners of Islam with those who preach jihad. Instead, there was a palpable fear, even anger, as President François Hollande asked Parliament to extend a state of emergency and called for changing the Constitution to deal with terrorism." In "After Paris Attacks, a Darker Mood Toward Islam Emerges in France," by Adam Nossiter and Liz Aldermannov, New York Times, 16 November 2015.    [ 10 ]

 

Addendum of Mali:  "Just hours after Secretary of State John Kerry called al-Qaida 'contained' and French President Hollande praised France's Africa mission as a success, terrorists struck a luxury hotel in Mali. No, the Paris attacks aren't over. Terrorists again struck a Western target, this time the Radisson Blu luxury hotel in Bamako, Mali, where armed men in a car with diplomatic plates were waved through to supposedly secure hotel grounds." In "Mali: Paris Attacks Part Deux," IBD Editorial, Investors Business Daily, 20 November 2015.

 

 Addendum of France Shutting Down Salafist Mosques:  "Kalashnikov ammunition and Islamic State propaganda videos were seized in raids following the closure of a mosque in the Paris suburbs, French authorities said Sunday. The prayer hall in Lagny-sur-Marne, around 30 kilometres (18 miles) east of the capital, was shut down last Wednesday following a large-scale police operation. Associated with the traditionalist Salafist branch of Islam, it is the third mosque in France to be closed after the coordinated jihadist attacks on Paris on November 13." In "Ammunition, IS propaganda found after France mosque closure," France 24, 6 December 2016.

 

Addendum of the Charlie Hebdo Massacre's First Anniversary:    "Riss [ Laurent Sourisseau, the newspaper’s director ] wrote that Islamic fanatics and other religious zealots wanted Charlie Hebdo’s secular journalists to pay the ultimate price 'for daring to laugh at religion.' He insisted that the newspaper would remain alive because 'never have we wanted so much to break the faces of those who dreamed of our deaths'. The editorial 'is violent and very insulting toward religion,' Abdallah Zekri, president of the Observatory against Islamophobia, told BFM television on Monday." In "Charlie Hebdo editor: No one questions when Jews are killed," by Associated Press and Times of Israel, 5 January 2016.    [ 11 ]

 

Addendum of Plain Talk:   "Did your French gun control stop a single fucking person from dying at the Bataclan? And if anyone can answer yes, I’d like to hear it, because I don’t think so. I think the only thing that stopped it was some of the bravest men that I’ve ever seen in my life charging head-first into the face of death with their firearms. Maybe... I know people will disagree with me, but it just seems like God made men and women, and... and that night guns made them equal. I hate it that it's that way. I think the only way that my mind has been changed is that maybe that until nobody has guns everybody has to have them." Jesse Hughes from the band, Eagles of Death Metal which played at the Bataclan, in iTélé interview, 16 February 2016.

 

 

 Addendum of Brussels and the Islamic Caliphate:    "Just weeks before the Brussels attacks, Delefortrie told us his dream to 'live under an Islamic caliphate' would soon become a reality in Europe. ISIS’s brand of militant Islam would not be denied, he said, because 'ISIS is not a group, it’s an ideology'." In "We talked to an ex-ISIS fighter in Belgium, and what he said was chilling," by Mariana Van Zeller and Fusion Investigative Unit, Fusion, 23 March 2016.   [ 12 ]

 

Addendum of a British Muslim Speaking Out:   "Teddy bears, tears, candles, cartoons, murals, mosaics, flowers, flags, projections, hashtags, balloons, wreaths, lights, vigils, scarves, and more. These are the best solutions the Western world seems to come up with every few months when we are slammed by another Islamist terrorist attack. We are our own sickness." In "Enough With The Teddy Bears And Tears: It’s Time To Take Our Civilization Back," by Raheem Kassam, Breitbart London, 23 March 2016.    [ 13 ]

 

Addendum of Bombing an Iraqi Football Game:   "In the latest terror attack linked to the Islamic State, at least 29 people were killed when a suicide bomber attacked a football stadium south of Baghdad Friday, Iraqi security officials told The Associated Press. Nearly 60 other people were reported hurt. Fox News has learned ISIS immediately claimed responsibility for the blast." In "Suicide blast kills 29 at Iraq football stadium; ISIS claims responsibility," FOX News, 25 March 2016.

 

 Addendum of Bombing in Lahore:   "A suicide bomber killed at least 65 people, mostly women and children, at a park in Lahore on Sunday in an attack claimed by a Pakistani Taliban faction which said it had targeted Christians. More than 300 other people were wounded, officials said." In "Suicide bomber targeting Christians kills 65, mostly women and children, in Pakistan park," by Mubasher Bukhari and Mehreen Zahra-Malik, Reuters, 27 March 2016.

 

 Addendum of Mistrust in Islam in France, Germany:   "... according to the director of Ifop’s opinion department, Jérôme Fourquet, the recent bloodshed in the French capital isn’t the only factor at play. 'The deterioration of Islam’s image in France wasn’t triggered by the attacks, even if those events contributed to it. What we’re seeing is more of a growing resistance within French society to Islam. It was already the case among voters for the [far-right] National Front and part of the right, but it has now expanded to the Socialist Party,' he told Le Figaro." In "Poll shows mistrust of Islam in France, Germany," by RFI (of France Médias Monde), 30 May 2016.

 

 Addendum of Istanbul Attack:   "At least 41 people have been killed after three suicide bombers opened fire before blowing themselves up at Istanbul's main airport. Officials said the number of dead is likely to rise to 50, while Turkey's prime minister said Islamic State militants appeared to have carried out the attack, which left around 239 people injured." In "Istanbul Airport Blasts: At Least 41 Killed," Sky News, 29 June 2016.

 

See:    Islamophobia

 

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]     The news coverage tells the tale. Gunfire was the response to gunfire, plainly said. The article began: "With explosions and gunfire, security forces Friday ended three days of terror around Paris, killing the two al-Qaida-linked brothers who staged a murderous rampage at a satirical newspaper and an accomplice who seized hostages at a kosher supermarket to try to help the brothers escape. The worst terrorist violence France has seen in decades killed at least 20 people, including the three gunmen. A fourth suspect — the common law wife of the market attacker — was still at large and believed to be armed. Al-Qaida's branch in Yemen said it directed the attack against the publication Charlie Hebdo to avenge the honor of the Prophet Muhammad, a frequent target of the weekly's satire." With explosions and gunfire were the terrorists killed at the end of this tale.

 

[ 2 ]     Bin Laden became among the poster children for the modern jihadist movement. His rationale was somehow that Muslims were always victims and never victimizers. And yet, his theological position tells that jihad is rooted not only in the Koran and Hadiths, but also in history. He stated:  "The enmity between us and the Jews goes far back in time and is deep rooted. There is no question that war between the two of us is inevitable." In "Who Is Bin Laden? - Interview With Osama Bin Laden," PBS/WGBH, May 1998.

          Of what Bin Laden claimed, one learns:  "In February 1998, the 40-year-old Saudi exile Usama Bin Ladin and a fugitive Egyptian physician, Ayman al Zawahiri, arranged from their Afghan headquarters for an Arabic newspaper in London to publish what they termed a fatwa issued in the name of a 'World Islamic Front.' A fatwa is normally an interpretation of Islamic law by a respected Islamic authority, but neither Bin Ladin, Zawahiri, nor the three others who signed this statement were scholars of Islamic law. Claiming that America had declared war against God and his messenger, they called for the murder of any American, anywhere on earth, as the "individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it." Three months later, when interviewed in Afghanistan by ABC-TV, Bin Ladin enlarged on these themes.2 He claimed it was more important for Muslims to kill Americans than to kill other infidels. 'It is far better for anyone to kill a single American soldier than to squander his efforts on other activities,' he said. Asked whether he approved of terrorism and of attacks on civilians, he replied: 'We believe that the worst thieves in the world today and the worst terrorists are the Americans. Nothing could stop you except perhaps retaliation in kind. We do not have to differentiate between military or civilian. As far as we are concerned, they are all targets'." In " The Foundation of the New Terrorism, 2.1, a Declaration of War," Complete 9/11 Commission Report, 23 February 1998.

          While the focus at that time seemed to portray Americans as guilty of being "crusaders" and the "worst thieves," one finds in subsequent years that jihadist attacks have occurred all around the world and in many nations. Enmity between jihadists and "the Jews" and then Americans, has become enmity against Europeans, Australians, Asians, Africans and more. It has become enmity between one form of Islam and another, as one watches the surrogate conflicts between Sunni and Shia, as well as between jihadists and cartoonists, satirists, novelists like Rushdie, and much more.

          Bin Laden's "crusader" complaint rings false, when one considers that early Islam was conquest-oriented. One reads:  "The rapid Muslim conquest of Palestine, Syria, Egypt and the North African coast all the way to Morocco in the seventh century resulted in the permanent imposition by force of Islamic culture onto a previously Christian and largely non-Arab base. The Visigothic kingdom fell to Muslim conquerors in a single battle on the Rio Barbate in 711, and the Hispanic Christian population took seven long centuries to regain control of the Iberian peninsula." Cited by Wikipedia as from "Watson, William, E. (1993). The Battle of Tours-Poitiers Revisited. Providence: Studies in Western Civilization v.2 n.1."
 

[ 3 ]  A declared war by jihadists labeled as terrorists? One may review the numbers of terrorists organizations, one such list compiled through Wikipedia. One headed by a crackpot nationalist Israeli now long dead, a small number by political separatists featuring a few Irish hooligans, a yet larger number of Communist groups, and by far the most numerous on the list, Muslim jihadist groups. While some in the Western political and press establishment wish to disassociate these from Islam itself, one should note the number of terrorist organization which include the term "Islamic" in their name and further supporting documents.

          "Organizations currently officially designated as terrorist by various governments. The list includes references to organisations associated with Al-Qaida by the United Nations. 1) Abdullah Azzam Brigades, 2) Abu Nidal Organization, 3) Abu Sayyaf, 4) Aden-Abyan Islamic Army, 5) Akhil Bharat Nepali Ekta Samaj, 6) al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, 7) Al-Badr , 8) al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya, 9) Al Ghurabaa, 10) al-Haramain Foundation, 11) Al-Itihaad al-Islamiya, 12) Al-Mourabitoun, 13) Al- Nusra Front, 14) al-Qaeda, and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, 15) al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, 16) Al-Shabaab, 17) Takfir wal-Hijra, 18) Al-Umar-Mujahideen, 19) All Tripura Tiger Force, 20) Ansar al-Sharia (Libya), 21) Ansar al-Sharia (Tunisia), 22) Ansar al-Islam, 23) Jamaat Ansar al- Sunna, 24) Ansar Bait al-Maqdis, 25) Ansar Dine, 26) Ansaru (Vanguard for the Protection of Muslims in Black Lands), 27) Armed Islamic Group of Algeria, 28) Army of Islam, 29) Osbat al- Ansar, 30) Aum Shinrikyo, 31) Babbar Khalsa International, 32) Balochistan Liberation Army, 33) Boko Haram, 34) Caucasian Emirate, 35) Comite' de Blenfaisance et de Solidarite' avec la Palestine, 36) Communist Party of India (Marxist–Leninist), 37) Communist Party of the Philippines/New People's Army, 38) Communist Party of Turkey/Marxist–Leninist, 39) Conspiracy of Fire Nuclei, 40) Continuity Irish Republican Army, 41) Cumann na mBan, 42) Deendar Anjuman. 43) Donetsk People's Republic, 44) Dukhtaran-e-Millat, 45) East Turkestan Information Center, 46) East Turkestan Islamic Movement, 47) East Turkestan Liberation Organization, 48) Egyptian Islamic Jihad, 49) Ergenekon, 50) ETA, 51) Fianna Éireann, 52) Force 17 (commando and special operations unit of the Palestinian Fatah movement and later of the Office of the Chairman of the Palestinian Authority), 53) Great Eastern Islamic Raiders' Front, 54) Hamas, 55) Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, 56) Haqqani network, 57) Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami , 58) Harkat-al-Jihad al-Islami in Bangladesh, 59) Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, 60) Harakat-Ul-Mujahideen/Alami, 61) Harakat Sham al-Islam, 62)Hezb-e Islami Gulbuddin, 63) Hezbollah, 64) Hezbollah (Military Wing), 65) Hezbollah (External Security Organisation), 66) Hezbollah Al-Hejaz, 67) Hilafet Devleti, 68) Hizb ut-Tahrir, 69) Hizbul Mujahideen, 70) Hofstad Network (influenced by the ideology of Takfir wal-Hijra. Redouan al-Issar), 71) Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, 72) Indian Mujahideen, 73) International Sikh Youth Federation, 74) Irish National Liberation Army, 75) Irish People's Liberation Organisation, 76) Islamic Jihad - Jamaat Mujahideen, 77) Islamic Jihad Union, 78) Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, 79) Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, 80) Jaishi-e-Mohammed, 81) Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar, 82) Jamaat Ul-Furquan, 83) Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh, 84) Jamiat al-Islah al-Idzhtimai, 85) Jamiat ul-Ansar, 86) Jamiat-e Islami, 87) Jemaah Islamiyah, 88) Jamaah Ansharut Tauhid, 89) Jund al-Sham, 90) Jundallah, 91) Kach and Kahane Chai, 92) Kangleipak Communist Party, 93) Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup, 94) Kata'ib Hezbollah, 95) Khalistan Commando Force, 96) Khalistan Zindabad Force, 97) Khuddam ul-Islam, 98) Komalah (Kurdish branch of the Communist Party of Iran), 99) Kurdistan Democratic Party/North, 100) Kurdistan Freedom Falcons, 101) Kurdistan Workers Party, 102) Lashkar-e-Taiba, 103) Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, 104) Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, 105) Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, 106) Loyalist Volunteer Force, 107) Lugansk People's Republic, 108) Manipur People’s Liberation Front, 109) Maoist Communist Centre of India, 110) Marxist–Leninist Communist Party, 111) Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group, 112) Mujahideen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem, 113) Muslim Brotherhood, 114) Front Nacional Democratic Bodoland, 115) National Liberation Army, 116) National Liberation Front of Tripura, 117) Orange Volunteers, 118) Palestine al-muslima, 119) Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine, 120) Palestinian Relief Development Fund – Interpal, 121) Party of Free Life of Kurdistan, 122) People's Congress of Ichkeria and Dagestan, 123) People's Liberation Army of Manipur, 124) People's Mujahedin of Iran, 125) People's Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak, 126) Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, 127) Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command, 128) Provisional Irish Republican Army, 129) Quds Force, 130) Real Irish Republican Army, 131) Red Hand Commando, 132) Red Hand Defenders, 133) Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, 134) Revolutionary Organization 17 November ( Marxist urban guerrilla organization), 135) Revolutionary Party of Kurdistan, 136) Revolutionary People's Liberation Party–Front, 137) Revolutionary Struggle (Epanastatikos Agonas — EA), 138) Saor Éire, 139) The Saved Sect (al-Firqat un-Naajiyah), 140) Tevhid-Selam (Al-Quds Army), 141) Shining Path (Partido Comunista del Perú), 142) Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan, 143) Society of the Revival of Islamic Heritage, 144) Stichting Al Aqsa, 145) Students Islamic Movement of India, 146) Supreme Military Majlis ul-Shura of the United Mujahideen Forces of Caucasus, 147) Taliban, 148) Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi, 149) Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, 150) Tamil Nadu Liberation Army, 151) Tamil National Retrieval Troops, 152) Tanzim (militant faction of the Palestinian Fatah movement), 153) Ulster Defence Association, 154) Ulster Volunteer Force, 155) United Liberation Front of Assam, 156) United National Liberation Front, 157) United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, 158) Vanguards of Conquest (Talaa'al al-Fateh), 159) World Tamil Movement, and 160) World Uygur Youth Congress." In "List of designated terrorist organizations," Wikipedia, accessed January 2015.

          What one may then note about an "international jihadist movement" and a "declaration of war?" Is it international? There are examples aplenty. Bringing up the rear in comparative numbers of terrorist organizations are Communists/Marxists/Leninists, then a small variety of nationalist separatists, and a few odds and ends in today's world of terrorism.

          Of Canada and jihad, one reads:  "Jihadists lauded the attacks in Canada that took the lives of two soldiers, posting celebratory wishes on Twitter and encouraging more destruction, while the body of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo was slated to be returned to his hometown Friday. 'During war, soldiers defend the country … except in Canada where they take off their uniforms and hide in their bases! #OttawaShooting,' wrote a Twitter user who goes by Abusunnah." In "Jihadists celebrated attacks on Canadian military men as dead soldier memorialized," by Corrine Letsch, NY Daily News, 24 October 2014.

          Of Australia and jihad, one reads:   " 'It is very important that attacks take place in every country that has entered into the alliance against the Islamic State, especially the US, UK, France, Australia and Germany,' the Australian reported an Islamic State magazine saying. 'Every Muslim should get out of his house, find a crusader, and kill him. It is important that the killing becomes attributed to patrons of the Islamic State who have obeyed its leadership. … 'Rely upon Allah and stab the crusader’ should be the battle cry'." Australia’s jihadist movement once had very different objectives. During the 1980s and the 1990s, Australia’s jihadist network focused outward, according to a 2011 paper in Terrorism and Political Violence." In "Australia’s jihadist problem is much bigger than Sydney’s hostage crisis," by Terrence McCoy, Washington Post, 15 December 2014.

          Of Ireland and jihad, one reads:  "UK-based radical Muslim preacher Anjem Choudary has made claims that Ireland is, and has been, a legitimate al-Qaeda target because American planes are allowed to refuel at Shannon Airport in Co. Clare." In "Radical Muslim preacher says Ireland is a legitimate al-Qaeda target," by Kayla Hertz, Irish Central, 10 January 2015.

          Of Germany and jihad specifically against the Charlie Hebdo cartoons, one reads:  "Vandals threw rocks at the headquarters of the Hamburg Morgenpost (MOPO), which reprinted cartoons from the satirical magazine at the centre of the terrorist attacks in Paris last week." In "Arsonists attack office of German newspaper that printed Charlie Hebdo cartoons," by Will Robinson and Mark Duell, Daily Mail UK/Mail Online, 11 January 2015.

          Of South America and jihad, one reads:   "One of the most notorious terrorist attacks in South America occurred in 1992 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, when a bomb was detonated at the Israeli embassy. The attack killed 29. Two years later, a Jewish community center was bombed resulting in the deaths of 85 innocent people. The Argentine special prosecutor who investigated this case, Alberto Nisman, concluded in a 500-page report that Iran was responsible for both bombings. Further, Nisman’s report says that Hezbollah works as a surrogate for Iran. Many analysts agree that Iran has been active in Latin America since the 1980s and that its influence is expanding. It has been setting up intelligence operations through its embassies, and Hezbollah, a Shiite Lebanese terrorist group, is colluding with drug cartels for financial support. They reportedly are also involved in money laundering, piracy and counterfeiting that, according to the U.S. Naval War College, has proved quite profitable. A 2004 War College study concluded that these operations along the border of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay netted Hezbollah $10 million a year." In "Jihad in our hemisphere," by Helen Aguirre Ferré, Miami Herald, 4 October 2014.

          Of India and jihad, one reads:  "The emergence of a Islamic State-aligned militant group in India comes weeks after al Qaeda announced the formation of an Indian branch, aiming to rouse the world's third largest Muslim population into action. 'There is no doubt that the radicalisation process has begun in different parts of the country. Islamic fundamentalists are seeking to indoctrinate Indian Muslims,' said Ajay Sahni, executive director of the Institute for Conflict Management in New Delhi which monitors militant groups across South Asia. The rapid rise of the Islamic State has evoked admiration among some groups in India and the flags of the insurgent group have appeared at rallies in Indian Kashmir, the country's only Muslim-majority state and the site of a nearly 25-year armed revolt." In "Indian jihadist group calls for attacks on non Muslims," by Rupam Jain Nair, Reuters (New Delhi), 6 October 2014.

          Of Russia and jihad, one reads:  "Among the most shocking acts of violence was an attack in the neighboring republic of North Ossetia in 2004, where militants seized a school and, in the three-day siege that followed, more than 300 were killed, most of them children. The attack was ordered by Chechen separatist leader Shamil Basayev, who was himself killed in a 2006 bombing believed to have been conducted by Russian internal security forces. Militants from Chechnya and other restive regions have targeted Moscow and other areas with bombings and hostage-takings for more than 20 years. The republic is predominantly Muslim and has waged two wars with Russian security forces since the demise of the Soviet Union in 1991." In "Russia's Chechnya has long terrorist connections," by Ray Locker, Kevin McCoy and Gregg Zoroya, USA Today, 20 April 2013.

          Of China and jihad, one reads:   "Nearly 100 people, most of them 'terrorists,' were killed in an attack last week in China, state media reported Sunday. A total of 37 civilians were killed, and police 'gunned down 59 terrorists'" Xinhua reported, bringing the death toll to 96. A gang wielding knives and axes attacked civilians, a police station and government offices and smashed vehicles in a restive region, according to Xinhua. Cars were vandalized, and some were set ablaze. The 'organized and premeditated' attack took place Monday in the northwestern Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. There have been numerous attacks in the region, where tensions are simmering between Uyghur Muslims, a Turkic people, and Chinese Han people." In "Nearly 100 dead -- mostly 'terrorists' -- in attack, China says," by Joe Sterling and Josh Levs, CNN, 4 August 2014.

          Of Thailand and jihad, one reads:   "The jihadis are hell-bent on turning this region into an Islamic breakaway state. Since 2004, their war against the Buddhist nation of Thailand has tallied more than 6,200 dead. That's more conflict deaths in the last 10 years than in the Gaza Strip." In "Red Light Jihad: Insurgency in Thailand party town," by Patrick Winn, USA Today, 8 December 2014.

          Of the Philippines and jihad, one reads:  "Since its inception in 1991, the group has carried out bombings, kidnappings, assassinations and extortion in what they describe as their fight for an independent Islamic province in the Philippines. Abu Sayyaf seeks the establishment of an Iranian-style Islamic theocracy in the southern Philippines. Abu Sayyaf forces in Basilan and in Zamboanga Peninsula were, by June 2003, believed to number less than 500, down from more than 1,000 a year earlier. They use mostly improvised explosive devices, mortars and automatic rifles." In "Moro insurgency in the Philippines," Wikipedia, accessed January 2015.  The article notes recemtly, "In 2014, some Abu Sayyaf leaders pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, including Isnilon Hapilon. He broke up with al-Qaeda and switched allegiance to Islamic State."

          But the Philippines has more problems than the Abu Sayyaf. One reads further:  "The predominantly Christian Philippines has been battling Muslim rebels in the south of the archipelago for decades and while negotiations with the biggest group have raised hopes for peace, fighting with smaller factions erupts regularly. The latest clashes are between the army and a faction known as the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in a marshy region of Mindanao island." In "Philippine offensive against Muslim rebels displaces thousands," Reuters, 6 March 2015.

          Of Nigeria and jihad, one only need think of Boko Haram. One reads:  " 'Dead bodies litter the bushes in the area and it is still no‎t safe to go and pick them (up) for burial,' said Musa Bukar, the chairman of the local government where Baga is located. 'Some people who hid in their homes were burned alive.' During the raid that started January 3, hundreds of gunmen seized the town of Baga and neighboring villages, as well as a multinational military base. Attacks started at dawn and continued throughout last weekend, according to residents." In "2,000 feared killed in 'deadliest' Boko Haram attack in Nigeria," by Aminu Abubakar and Faith Karimi, CNN, 10 January 2015.

          Of Egypt and the whole problem of "terrorism," one reads another reference back to the above list of terrorist organizations, so many of which are Islamic ""An Egyptian court on Saturday banned the armed wing of Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, declaring it a 'terrorist' group, a judiciary official said. Since Egypt's military ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013, the authorities have accused Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, of aiding jihadists who have increased their attacks on security forces in the Sinai Peninsula. Saturday's court verdict followed a complaint from a lawyer accusing the Hamas armed wing of direct involvement in 'terrorist operations' in the Sinai, a court official said." In "Egypt court rules Hamas armed wing 'terror group'," Agence France Presse, 31 January 2015.

          The Egyptian president stated:  "...these extremists not only insult Islam, they also offend the image of God, the all-mighty. Their false beliefs lead many people to ask themselves: What kind of a religion is this Islam?" In "Interview with Egyptian President Sisi: 'Extremists Offend the Image of God'," by Dieter Bednarz and Klaus Brinkbäumer, Speigel International, 9 February 2015.

          One will find yet more news coverage from around the world, but it comes to a singular conclusion, as Stephen Harper observed. "The international jihadist movement has declared war."

          War is a two-sided pursuit. A declaration of war is being answered with a declaration of war. "Prime Minister Manuel Valls declared Saturday that France was at war with radical Islam after the harrowing sieges that had led to the deaths of three gunmen and four hostages the day before, and as the authorities mounted a frantic hunt for a suspected accomplice. 'It is a war against terrorism, against jihadism, against radical Islam, against everything that is aimed at breaking fraternity, freedom, solidarity,' Mr. Valls said during a speech in Évry, south of Paris." In "French Premier Declares ‘War’ on Radical Islam as Paris Girds for Rally," by Dan Bilefsky and Maïa de la Bumejan, New York Times, 10 January 2015.

          Therefore, "Do not just hold a vigil / While there's gunfire at your door."

 

[ 4 ]  The point is well taken, as one notes the identification of so many Islamic terrorist organizations banned by many world governments, alongside the extremist statements and murderous acts of radical jihadists worldwide. While world leaders are clearly saying this is now a worldwide war waged in many lands, el-Sisi's correctly notes that "...the Islamic world is being torn, it is being destroyed, it is being lost. And it is being lost by our own hands."

          There can be but a few alternatives. One wins a war, be it the "international jihadist movement" winning and the world's non-Muslims losing, or the "international jihadist movement" losing and the world of non-Muslims winning, or a continual state of war between Islamic jihadists and non-Muslims as well as the many "kuffir" (apostates and non-believers as assigned by various definitions of various Islamic groups). This even nominal Muslims are targets of international jihadist Muslims.

          So who defines what it is to be a Muslim?  One reads of some detail in the Paris attack:  "Ahmed Merabet, the police officer gunned down in the Charlie Hebdo attack, was killed in an act of barbarity by 'false Muslims' his brother said in a moving tribute on Saturday, where he also appealed for unity and tolerance. Speaking for a group of relatives gathered in Paris, Malek Merabet said the terrorists who ignored his brother’s plea for mercy as he lay wounded on the street may have shared his Algerian roots, but had nothing else in common." In "Paris policeman’s brother: 'Islam is a religion of love. My brother was killed by terrorists, by false Muslims'," by Emma Graham-Harrison, Guardian UK, 10 January 2015.

          An act of barbarity by false Muslims, says a Muslim. Others disagree. One reads:  "...worshippers left Friday prayers at a local mosque in Chora district and swelled to several hundred people, said Chora police chief Abdul Qawi. 'The protesters were calling the attackers heroes and were shouting that those who had mocked the Prophet Mohammad were punished,' Qawi said. Provincial police chief Matiullah Khan said that police had been informed in advance of the demonstration, which was allowed under the Afghan constitution's free-speech provisions." In "Afghanistan rally hails Charlie Hebdo attackers as 'heroes'," by Sayed Sarwar Amani, Reuters, 11 January 2015.

          And in opposition to those at the Afghanistan rally, one reads:  "Culture Secretary Sajid Javid has said that it is 'lazy and wrong' to suggest that the Paris attacks have nothing to do with Islam. Javid, who is himself of Muslim heritage, also said that the Muslim community has a 'special burden' to tackle extremism within its community. Speaking on Radio 5 Live during Pienaar’s Politics, Mr Javid said: 'There is no getting away from the fact that the people carrying out these acts – what we have seen just horrifically this week in Paris, what has happened in London and Madrid – these people call themselves Muslims.The lazy answer would be to say that this has got nothing whatsoever to do with Islam or Muslims and that should be the end of that. That would be lazy and wrong. You can’t get away from the fact that these people are using Islam, taking a peaceful religion and using it as a tool to carry out their activities'." In "Sajid Javid: Idea that Paris Attacks Have Nothing to do with Islam is 'Lazy and Wrong'," by Donna Rachel Edmunds, Breitbart London, 11 January 2015.

          Thus one sees in real time the content of President el-Sisi's words and challenge to Islamic preachers. Who shall define with clarity what a "real" Muslim is, and what a "false" Muslim is? The murderous phenomenon of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria is that they too are defining what it is to be a "real" Muslim and what it is to be a "false" Muslim. The partisans soundly disagree, and this is the very definition of a religious schism historically.

          What the world faces is a logical inconsistency, currently without a clear and defining solution. Islam has been defined in inconsistent and opposing statements, and there is no single authority to clarify. Thus Islamic scholars, as el-Sisi noted, are confronting the greatest challenge "because the Islamic world is being torn, it is being destroyed, it is being lost. And it is being lost by our own hands."

          What does Islam mean and what does it require? No comprehensive answer can come from a community as divided as is Islam today, but many mutually inconsistent answers are heard raging away, complete with gunfire.

          Oddly this is true of the second largest group of terror organizations listed above, as Marxist and even non-Marxist socialism in its varying forms is also almost indefinable, excepting as a strategy for gaining power over others.

          Philosopher Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) noted in the Preface to his "The Practice and Theory of Bolshevism," that: "Bolshevism combines the characteristics of the French Revolution with those of the rise of Islam; and the result is something radically new, which can only be understood by a patient and passionate effort of imagination." 

          Russell, who was an admirer of Communism in theory but skeptical of how Bolshevism might make this "progress." continued in in a subsequent chapter, "The Present Condition of Russia," to observe "Those who accept Bolshevism become impervious to scientific evidence, and commit intellectual suicide. Even if all the doctrines of Bolshevism were true, this would still be the case, since no unbiased examination of them is tolerated. One who believes, as I do, that the free intellect is the chief engine of human progress, cannot but be fundamentally opposed to Bolshevism, as much as to the Church of Rome. Among religions, Bolshevism is to be reckoned with Mohammedanism rather than with Christianity and Buddhism. Christianity and Buddhism are primarily personal religions, with mystical doctrines and a love of contemplation. Mohammedanism and Bolshevism are practical, social, unspiritual, concerned to win the empire of this world. Their founders would not have resisted the third of the temptations in the wilderness. What Mohammedanism did for the Arabs, Bolshevism may do for the Russians. As Ali went down before the politicians who only rallied to the Prophet after his success, so the genuine Communists may go down before those who are now rallying to the ranks of the Bolsheviks."

          The citation of Ali and the tale of Karbala is sadly amusing, given that the "success" of Ali's killers spawned Sunni Islam, while the continuing followers of that lineage spawned Shia Islam, the two in opposition to one another. One may see this in the footnotes to the rhyme and extended collection of referenced materials under Islamophobia revisited - a thumbnail sketch of tolerance and inter-religious dialogues. Russell cites "the politicians" and wondered if "genuine Communists" would lose to the Bolsheviks. With the hindsight of history since 1920 and Russell's abject errors, one knows the tale of the collapse of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, now decades old. There was another form of socialism attempted in Europe.

          One reads: "We do not know whether Hitler is going to found a new Islam. He is already on the way; he is like Muhammad. The emotion in Germany is Islamic; warlike and Islamic. They are all drunk with a wild god." Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) "Symbolic Life: Miscellaneous Writings (Volume 18 of The Collected Works of C. G. Jung)," Routledge, 1977.  The defeat of the National Socialists in Germany which help end World War II proved that German form of socialism was indeed "warlike." Jung added to the description "and Islamic."

          Perhaps this is what Islam has become in the hands of many, a not unreasonable conclusion, given that many of the 20th century founding documents of Islamic nations in the Middle East contain elements of socialism in their wording, including the most basic references to socialist theory. The dreamed-of dictatorship of the proletariat is more akin to a dictatorial theocracy than to a free people in a free nation.

          The religion of peace   is the recent political mantra of some in the West, as stated by President George Bush and then agreed to by President Obama in these last years.

          But given the use of the adjective, "Islamic," by so many listed above as organization names of terrorist groups, the word becomes problematic or perhaps evidence of wishful thinking. This remains to be seen, but a logical conclusion is that for centuries there have been, at the minimum, two forms of Islam proceeding from differing allegiances. It is clear that today there are more as schism tears Islam into disparate elements. As el-Sisi suggested, there is the obvious call for a "religious revolution."

          As counterpoint to the assertion of Bush and Obama, one reads:  "Are Isis and its followers heretics? The politicians of Europe and America, including David Cameron, Barack Obama and Francois Hollande, after every Islamicist outrage insist on describing them as a lunatic fringe. Their constant refrain is that these perpetrators of murder and terror have as much to do with Islam as the Ku Klux Klan has to do with Christianity or the testament of Jesus Christ. But does such political assurance bear scrutiny? Of course the politicians, church leaders and others who say ‘these atrocities have nothing to do with Islam’ are not making a researched or considered theological statement. They are attempting, quite rightly, to prevent civil discord in a world in which there are considerable Muslim immigrant populations in most countries of Europe and in the US." In "A grotesque love of propaganda. Unspeakable barbarity. The loathing of Jews - and a hunger for world domination. In this stunning intervention, literary colossus V.S. NAIPAUL says ISIS is now the Fourth Reich" by V.S. Naipaul, Daily Mail, 22 March 2015.

          With the greater awareness around the world of Charlie Hebdo's satire on religions to include Islam, the attack and murder of twelve journalists has only increased the brand name of Hebdo, broadened the satire and cartoons being republished, and caused a French prime minister to state publicly a national policy decision:  'It is a war against terrorism, against jihadism, against radical Islam, against everything that is aimed at breaking fraternity, freedom, solidarity...."

 

[ 5 ]    Given the "satirical" stance of the publication, the comment seems -- well -- satirical, especially given the assertion that Charlie Hedbo will continue to publish. One reads:  "Radio France, Le Monde and France Televisions released a joint statement in which they offered to help the publication continue. They also urged other media outlets to follow suit and offer their assistance. Their statement read: 'Faced with horror, the groups Radio France, Le Monde and France Televisions announce that Charlie Hedbo will be made available and its team will bring together all necessary means to ensure that Charlie Hebdo continues to live'." In "Charlie Hebdo attack: One million copies of magazine will be published as French media vow to keep it running," by Heather Saul, Independent UK, 8 January 2015.

          One wonders if the satirists will forego payment for those of "Charlie Hebdo’s sudden friends" upon whom he would vomit, or would he prefer being paid for his cartoons and satire? But the coverage of the cartoonist who would vomit notes, "Willem stressed that Charlie Hebdo must continue to publish. 'Otherwise, (the Islamists) have won'." Satire?

          But Charlie Hebdo has new friends, whether or not Bernard Holtrop likes it or not. One reads:  "Around 700,000 people have poured out onto the streets of France on Saturday to pay tribute to the 17 people killed during three days of terror, the interior minister said. '700,000 people have marched' in cities around France, Bernard Cazeneuve told reporters on the eve of a rally in Paris he said would likely attract 'several hundred thousand' people, as well as a string of world leaders." In "700,000 people rally in France after jihadist attacks," Agence France Presse, 10 January 2015.

 

 

          What volume of vomit can Bernard Holtrop, born in 1941 and now elderly, produce? Surely not enough for all of Charlie's "new friends." Were they to return his sentiment however like for like, it would be a flood. Would that be satirical?

 

[ 6 ]    Goldberg sets up his argument simply. He asks, "Do you know who else isn’t Charlie? Barack Obama isn’t Charlie. This is from a speech the president delivered to the United Nations General Assembly in 2012: 'The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam. But to be credible, those who condemn that slander must also condemn the hate we see in the images of Jesus Christ that are desecrated, or churches that are destroyed, or the Holocaust that is denied.' I wish President Obama had not said this, for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that the Holocaust is an historical fact, and church desecrations are physical crimes against property; neither vandalism nor the denial of historical reality compare to the mocking of unprovable religious beliefs. (And yes, I find attacks on the principles of my faith painful, but I would defend the right of people to make such attacks; I'm opposed, for instance, to the criminalization of Holocaust denial.) Mainly, Obama’s statement is troubling because it should be the role of the president of the United States, who swears an oath to defend the Constitution, to explain to the world the principle that free speech is sacred—painful, sometimes, but sacred."

          The Obama administration wanted the phrase "global war on terror" out of the parlance, perhaps for its connection to the previous Bush administration. But Obama said,  " 'Deranged or alienated individuals – often U.S. citizens or legal residents – can do enormous damage, particularly when inspired by larger notions of violent jihad. That pull towards extremism appears to have led to the shooting at Fort Hood, and the bombing of the Boston Marathon,' he said. 'So that's the current threat: Lethal yet less capable al-Qaida affiliates. Threats to diplomatic facilities and businesses abroad. Homegrown extremists. This is the future of terrorism. We must take these threats seriously, and do all that we can to confront them'." In "Obama: 'Global War on Terror' Is Over," by Paul D. Shinkman, US News and World Report, 23 May 2013.

          Reviewing the list of terror groups cited above, and looking through recent events around the world, one need not quibble over the West's "global war on terror" as phraseology. France's Valls calls it a "war against terrorism, against jihadism, against radical Islam." But Obama spoke of events as "inspired by larger notions of violent jihad." From what source does the term, jihad, come if not from Islam? Trying to parse the terms seems intellectually impoverished.  Valls has gone farther, and spoken of "Islamo-fascism."

          One reads as criticism of such: "Failing to call Islamism by its name (a failure of which Barack Obama is, alas, guilty) guarantees defeat. The idea of a war between general Islam and the West is exactly the outcome Islamists seek. Failing to name Islamism out of political correctness, fear or stupidity is the ultimate Islamophobic act. What is seen, often sincerely, as a desire not to offend has only allowed Islamists to thrive within our democracies as they plot their extinction." In "How to save Islam from the Islamists," by Qanta Ahmed, Spectator UK, 17 January 2015.

          One reads yet more criticism of like kind:   "When you don’t call things by their real name, you always get in trouble. And this administration, so fearful of being accused of Islamophobia, is refusing to make any link to radical Islam from the recent explosions of violence against civilians (most of them Muslims) by Boko Haram in Nigeria, by the Taliban in Pakistan, by Al Qaeda in Paris and by jihadists in Yemen and Iraq. We’ve entered the theater of the absurd. Last week the conservative columnist Rich Lowry wrote an essay in Politico Magazine that contained quotes from White House spokesman Josh Earnest that I could not believe. I was sure they were made up. But I checked the transcript: 100 percent correct." In "Say It Like It Is," by Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times, 20 January 2015.

          As to that theater of the absurd, one learns:  "Lets be clear nobody denies these are Muslims. And these Muslim who claim their warped view of their ideology is what informed their actions. Their hateful ideology in this instance. What we simply do not believe is they should somehow be seen as representatives of Islam." Quote of White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough. "Meet the Press," NBC, 25 January 2015.

          For such sentiments being trotted out by the US administration, the Times printed yet clearer words:  "After a Danish movie director at a seminar on 'Art, Blasphemy and Freedom of Expression' and a Danish Jew guarding a synagogue were shot dead in Copenhagen, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, the prime minister of Denmark, uttered a familiar trope: 'We are not in the middle of a battle between Islam and the West. It’s not a battle between Muslims and non-Muslims. It’s a battle between values based on the freedom of the individual and a dark ideology.' This statement — with its echoes of President Obama’s vague references to “violent extremists” uncoupled from the fundamentalist Islam to which said throat-cutting extremists pledge allegiance — scarcely stands up to scrutiny. It is empty talk." In "Islam and the West at War," by Roger Cohen, New York Times, 16 February 2015.

          Islam and the West at war? The statement seems far clearer than the US administration's "we simply do not believe...."

          So some Muslims and their "hateful ideology" are not representatives of Islam? Perhaps the Islamic State as it names itself is not Islamic? The theater of the absurd fumbles with words and illogic. A is B and A is also not B defines the theater of the absurd.

          The New York Times editorial of 16 February clarifies: "Islam is a religion that has spawned multifaceted political movements whose goal is power. Islam, as such, is fair game for commentators, caricaturists and cartoonists, whose inclination to mock the depredations of theocracy and political Islam’s cynical uses of the Prophet cannot be cowed by fear. Over the more than 13 years since Al Qaeda attacked America on 9/11, we have seen trains blown up in Madrid, the Tube and a bus bombed in London, Western journalists beheaded, the staff of Charlie Hebdo slaughtered, Jews killed in France and Belgium and now Denmark. This is not the work of a 'dark ideology' but of jihadi terror."

          From another op-ed:  "ISIS may be a perversion of Islam, but Islamic it is, just as Christian beliefs about the sanctity of the unborn child explain why some Christian fundamentalists attack abortion clinics and doctors. But, of course, murderous Christian fundamentalists are not killing many thousands of civilians a year. More than 80% of the world's terrorist attacks take place in five Muslim-majority countries -- Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan and Syria -- and are largely carried out by groups with Islamist beliefs. This week the United Nations released a report showing that civilian casualties in Afghanistan were at the highest level since the organization started counting them six years ago. The Taliban were responsible for three-quarters of these deaths. The Taliban and other Islamist terrorist groups are not, of course, secular organizations. To treat them as if they were springs from some combination of wishful thinking, PC gone crazy and a failure to accept, in an increasingly secularized era, that some will kill in the name of their god, an all-too-common phenomenon across human history." In "Nonsense about terrorism's 'root causes'," by Peter Bergen, CNN, 19 February 2015.

          Alternatively, some can still "believe" that it is not Islamic, as evidenced by the White House spokesman above. Criminal investigations attempt to identify a suspect as perpetrator. Military action attempts to delineate between combatant and civilians, who like victims in crimes are often collateral damage. But identify, one must. Else one cannot lead either a criminal investigation, a military action or even an editorial in a newspaper. If those who claim to be representatives of Islam are not to be "believed" to be representatives of Islam as some world leaders have attempted to say, then Islam has no definitive meaning, but is merely a vague and illusory meaning.

          It has been noted: "While humanity is not at war against Islam, a part of Islam is certainly at war against humanity. To ignore that fact amounts to a dereliction of intellectual responsibility." In "Obama’s elementary errors on Islam," by Amir Taheri, New York Post, 20 February 2015.

          One also reads:   "At the White House summit on 'countering violent extremism,' President Obama declared that violent jihad in the name of Islam isn’t the work of 'religious leaders' but rather 'terrorists.' American-Muslim leaders, attending the summit, cheered and applauded, later taking selfies in front of the president’s seal. But, as liberal Muslim feminist journalists who reject the vision of the Islamic State, we can say that the Islamic State, al Qaeda and the alphabet soup of Islamic militant groups, like HUM (Harkut-ul Mujahideen) and LeT (Lashkar-e-Taiba), rely very much on the scholarship of 'religious leaders,' from Ibn Tamiyyah in the 14th century to Sayyid Qutb in the 20th century, who very much have credibility and authority among too many Muslims as 'religious leaders'." In "Will It Take The End of the World For Obama To Recognize ISIS As 'Islamic'?" by Asra Q. Nomani, Daily Beast, 20 February 2015.

          So a non-Muslim president defines Islam for the world from the bully pulpit of the White House, winnowing away competing views by other Muslims when they disagree with his definition of Islam? How odd.

          The assertion that American presidents are the final authorities in defining Islam demeans Muslims, who are themselves parts of various schisms within Islam over centuries. It is oddly partisan in the world of political Islam's varied streams of thought.

          That assertion is all the more odd as time passes and one reads:   " 'The terrorism that we face within the Muslim Ummah and our own homelands today … is religiously motivated. It has been founded on extremism, and the misconception of some distorted Sharia concept,' Abdullah bin Abdelmohsin al-Turki, secretary-general of the Muslim World League, said, The Atlantic reported Friday. Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, the grand imam of Sunni Islam’s most prestigious university, al-Azhar in Egypt, said that violence was 'strange to Islam,' but admitted that it was 'the historical accumulations of extremism and militancy,' in the religion’s heritage that was 'the most prominent' source of radicalization, The Atlantic reported." In "Mecca debate challenges Obama narrative: 'The terror we face … is religiously motivated'," by Douglas Ernst, Washington Times, 27 February 2015.

          For more on Saudi Arabia and violence "strange to Islam," see:   Islamophobia revisited  - a thumbnail sketch of tolerance and inter-religious dialogues, which documents visually and in resourced quotes violence, "strange to Islam," but prevalent in Saudi Arabia. For such dissonance, one may conclude that Islam is undergoing a severe schism within itself, as with all the cultures which surround and traffic with it. Violence when a world view is challenged or repudiated is a predictable reaction. This does not justify it as a reasonable reaction in the modern and modernizing world.

 

[ 7 ]     A marketing windfall? Of course, as is the natural course of things. One reads further:  "A week ago, Charlie Hebdo was a niche publication little known outside France, with a circulation of 60,000. On Wednesday the satirical newspaper's first issue since last week's deadly attack on its staff went on sale with an initial print run of 3 million copies and front-page coverage around the world. Readers in France mobbed newsstands to buy a copy and European newspapers reprinted Charlie Hebdo's cartoons as a gesture of solidarity." In "New Charlie Hebdo reaches global audience, dismays Muslims," by Jill Lawless, Associated Press, 14 January 2015.

          But the "initial run" has not been enough, as demand is proving greater, which according to the Associated Press "dismays Muslims." Such is the power of publicity, something many forget. Among those who forgot this were the killers who were then killed, as has been much of the press so reticent to further explore the story and the phenomena behind it.

          The radical Islam of the Hebdo killers could not have fashioned a better plan to increase paid views of "offending cartoons." When measured by a run of millions of copies of the latest Charlie Hebdo, apparently the future does indeed belong to those "who slander Islam" after all. Oops.

 

[ 8 ]   From European intellectuals to aspiring politicians to some Arab leaders, one finds that these murders were, in effect, catastrophically stupid for the enormous, worldwide comment they have drawn out into the public press. In addition to making a minor French satire magazine leap from 30,000 sold copies to a sold run of many millions of copies each bearing another cartoon mockery of Muhammad, these stupid and now dead "radical Islamists" have caused comment aplenty with the central word -- Islam -- at its center. From the Pope to nations' presidents and prime ministers, from media and opinions writers on all sides of the political spectrum, from Egypt's el-Sisi to Turkey's Erdogan, from all sides there comes a mountain of comment sparked from what was once a molehill of a French magazine.

 

[ 9 ]    Given that Saudi Arabia by law does not allow Christian churches, even home meetings of Christians, much less Jewish synagogues and Hindu temples and Buddhist shrines and so much more in the broad array of man's religions, it seems their complaint about Hebdo insulting the feelings of Muslims is not mirrored with their religious and legal rejections of other religions within their borders. Sauce for one goose is not sauce for the gander. If it were another nation could by law ban Islam as Saudi Arabia has banned other religions. Given the number of nations today criminalizing the mockery of national and religious leaders, it seems the time comes when Islam will receive the like consideration that it has given others.

          As counterpoint to the whine of the current Saudi Arabian government, one reads of an era of Muslim power:   “ The first of these bloody sultans, Kutb-d Din Aibak, was a normal specimen of his kind fanatical, ferocious and merciless. His gifts, as the Mohammedan historian tells us, 'were bestowed by hundreds of thousands, and his slaughters likewise were by hundreds of thousands.' In one victory of this warrior (who had been purchased as a slave), 'fifty thousand men came under the collar of slavery, and the plain became black as pitch with Hindus. Another sultan, Balban, punished rebels and brigands by casting them under the feet of elephants, or removing their skins, stuffing these with straw, and hanging them from the gates of Delhi. When some Mongol inhabitants who had settled in Delhi, and had been converted to Islam, attempted a rising, Sultan Alau-d-din (the conqucrer of Chitor) had all the males from fifteen to thirty thousand of them slaughtered in one day. Sultan Muhammad bin Tughlak acquired the throne by murdering his father, became a great scholar and an elegant writer, dabbled in mathematics, physics and Greek philosophy, surpassed his predecessors in bloodshed and brutality, fed the flesh of a rebel nephew to the rebel's wife and children, ruined the country with reckless inflation, and laid it waste with pillage and murder till the inhabitants fled to the jungle. He killed so many Hindus that, in the words of a Moslem historian, 'there was constantly in front of his royal pavilion and his Civil Court a mound of dead bodies and a heap of corpses, while the sweepers and executioners were wearied out by their work of dragging' the victims 'and putting them to death in crowds.' In order to found a new capital at Daulatabad he drove every inhabitant from Delhi and left it a desert; and hearing that a blind man had stayed behind in Delhi, he ordered him to be dragged from the old to the new capital, so that only a leg remained of the wretch when his last journey was finished. The Sultan complained that the people did not love him, or recognize his undeviating justice. He ruled India for a quarter of a century, and died in bed. His successor, Firoz Shah, invaded Bengal, offered a reward for every Hindu head, paid for 180,000 of them, raided Hindu villages for slaves, and died at the ripe age of eighty. Sultan Ahmad Shah feasted for three days whenever the number of defenseless Hindus slain in his territories in one day reached twenty thousand." In "The Story of Civilization: Our Oriental Heritage," Will Durant, Simon & Schuster, 1942.

          This, one historical citation among all too many, serves to point out that the complaint of the Saudis who ban other religions' practice in their nation that the French are somehow intolerant is simply specious.

 

[ 10 ]  Sometimes news writers expose their own failings. One such is the error in the phrase, "not to confuse practitioners of Islam with those who preach jihad."   One notes without factual error that 'jihad' is an Islamic term, and 'practitioners of Islam' must by all definitions 'preach jihad.' One may argue about the meaning of 'jihad,' but to attempt to separate jihad from Islam is about a specious as to attempt to separate the term, "Blitzkrieg," from German military vocabulary, or the French phrase so often used in less bloody situations, "c'est la guerre."

          As one considers similar stories for this time in history, jihad cannot be parsed away from Islam any more than can the Koran, as one reads:  "Bursts of gunfire were heard as the assailants went through the hotel room by room and floor by floor, one senior security source and a witness told Reuters. Some people were freed by the attackers after showing they could recite verses from the Koran, while others managed to escape or were brought out by security forces." In "About 27 dead after Islamists seize hotel in Mali's capital," by Tiemoko Diallo, Reuters, 20 November 2015.

          From another report:  "Gunmen who raided a Malian hotel shouted 'Allahu akbar' as they sprayed bullets on tables of people who were gathered for breakfast, a witness said." In "Mali hotel attack: Gunmen barged in, shot at 'anything that moved'." by Faith Karimi and Erin Burnett, CNN, 23 November 2015.

          If the New York Times article asks not to "confuse" practitioners of Islam with those that preach jihad, would the writers also ask not to "confuse" reciting "verse from the Koran" with "practitioners of Islam?"  What of "allahu akbar" while committing acts of terror confuses that phrase with "practitioners of Islam?"

          When words become so fluid in the hands of news writers, one cannot accept their resultant lack of clarity, unless one sees their pursuit of a lack of clarity to begin with.

 

One of the terrorists from Paris attack with Koran and ISIS flag

 

          One reads from a self-published book refuted by some Muslims:  "While there are plenty of 'bad' Muslims who are good people, they are as impotent as bad Nazis in the Third Reich or bad Communists during Stalin’s era. The Qur’an defines good and bad Muslims for us. It says a good Muslim is a Jihadist, a man who leaves his home, sacrificing his wealth and life, fighting in Allah’s Cause. Allah says they will be rewarded with stolen booty if they survive or with a heavenly bordello if they die. Bad Muslims, on the other hand, are peaceful. Allah calls them 'hypocrites' because they are unwilling to fight. He even says that peaceful Muslims are 'the most vile of creatures' and that hell’s hottest fires await them. If you are a peace-loving Muslim, your god hates you." In "Prophet of Doom: Islam’s Terrorist Dogma in Muhammad’s Own Words," by Craig Winn, Cricketsong Books, 2004.

          Wiin's critics say so many quotes from the Koran and Hadith materials are misquoted, taken out of context or misinterpreted. One wonders how a photo such as the above is supposed to be misinterpreted.

          There is no wonder that some Muslims would dispute such as Winn's observations and conclusions, just as the New York Times writers report a conflict between "practitioners of Islam with those who preach jihad," as if jihad is not Islamic, nor the proclaimed Islamic State not Islamic, nor reciting from the Koran to escape murder not related to the Koran nor Islam. Obviously then, the many "jihadist" terror groups as surveyed the footnote three above are not "practitioners of Islam," with the small exception that they all testify that they are and the preach jihad.

          Of this era's jihadists, which the NYTimes would suggest are not "practitioners of Islam," one reads further:  "They inhabit a mental landscape in which the Middle Ages never went away. The menace of this way of thinking is brutally evident — a world in which young people murdered at a rock concert can be cursed as 'Crusaders' is a world on the verge of going mad. It is not just non-Muslims who are threatened by this imperialist nostalgia. 'Either you are with the Crusade,' ISIS has warned European Muslims, 'or you are with Islam.' Its ambition is to terrorise the West into turning against its own Muslim citizens, and render it impossible for them to live here as equals: 'For then Muslims in the Crusader countries will find themselves driven to abandon their homes, and will go to live in the Caliphate.' History could hardly be more brutally exploited." In "Shadow of a bloody past: For centuries, Islam and Christianity were locked in a brutal conflict most have forgotten. The horror, a top historian argues, is that for jihadis it's as real today as it was in the Middle Ages," by Tom Holland, Daily Mail UK, 21 November 2015.

          To return to the NYTimes article of 16 November which worries about confusing "practitioners of Islam with those who preach jihad," one finds another article by the same lead writer two days earlier. One reads:  "Three teams of Islamic State attackers acting in unison carried out the terrorist assault in Paris on Friday night, officials said Saturday, including one assailant who may have traveled to Europe on a Syrian passport along with the flow of migrants. 'It is an act of war that was committed by a terrorist army, a jihadist army, Daesh, against France,' President François Hollande told the nation from the Élysée Palace, using an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State. 'It is an act of war that was prepared, organized and planned from abroad, with complicity from the inside, which the investigation will help establish'." In "Three Teams of Coordinated Attackers Carried Out Assault on Paris, Officials Say; Hollande Blames ISIS," by Adam Nossiter, Aurelien Breeden and Katrin Bennholdnov, New York Times, 14 November 2015.

          More from the Times as to "radical Islam" comes from earlier in the year:   "Prime Minister Manuel Valls declared Saturday that France was at war with radical Islam after the harrowing sieges that led to the deaths of three gunmen and four hostages the day before. New details emerged about the bloody final confrontations, and security forces remained on high alert. 'It is a war against terrorism, against jihadism, against radical Islam, against everything that is aimed at breaking fraternity, freedom, solidarity,' Mr. Valls said during a speech in Évry, south of Paris." In "French Premier Declares ‘War’ on Radical Islam as Paris Girds for Rally," by Dan Bilefsky and Maïa de la Baumjan, New York Times, 10 January 2015.

          The NYTimes prints an editorial after these, in part noting:  "Black Daesh, white Daesh. The former slits throats, kills, stones, cuts off hands, destroys humanity’s common heritage and despises archaeology, women and non-Muslims. The latter is better dressed and neater but does the same things. The Islamic State; Saudi Arabia. In its struggle against terrorism, the West wages war on one, but shakes hands with the other. This is a mechanism of denial, and denial has a price: preserving the famous strategic alliance with Saudi Arabia at the risk of forgetting that the kingdom also relies on an alliance with a religious clergy that produces, legitimizes, spreads, preaches and defends Wahhabism, the ultra-puritanical form of Islam that Daesh feeds on. Wahhabism, a messianic radicalism that arose in the 18th century, hopes to restore a fantasized caliphate centered on a desert, a sacred book, and two holy sites, Mecca and Medina. Born in massacre and blood, it manifests itself in a surreal relationship with women, a prohibition against non-Muslims treading on sacred territory, and ferocious religious laws." In "Saudi Arabia, an ISIS That Has Made It," by Kamel Daoud, New York Times, 20 November 2015.

          One returns then to the pertinent question: what is Islam and who speaks authoritatively for it? When Muslims cannot agree themselves, it becomes odd for American presidents and so many news reporters in the West to argue as if they speak authoritatively for The religion of peace .

          And as the liberal West tries in vain to define Islam, the wars continue in words and in deeds.

 

[ 11 ]  That the president of the Observatory against Islamophobia deemed the latest Hebdo editorial --mere words, penned a year after a murderous attack -- as "violent" demonstrates clearly that the accusation of this newly coined word, Islamophobia, is a farce.  

          The article noted:  " 'We are so used to Jews being killed because they are Jewish,' Gėrard Biard wrote. 'This is an error, and not just on a human level. Because it’s the executioner who decides who is Jewish. Nov. 13 was the proof of that. On that day, the executioner showed us that he had decided we were all Jewish'."

          In fact, "moderate Muslims" are killed in the various terrorist attacks by other Muslims over these many years that it is possible to take Biard's editorial to say that such innocent Muslims might well be included in the metaphorical "we were all Jewish," for indeed the Muslim world itself is torn apart by violent factions, and many Muslims are being killed by Muslims. This begs the obvious question -- are not Muslim terrorists themselves Islamophobic? After all, the Observatory against Islamophobia is not the only authority in such matters.

          For a broad sampling over this conundrum of Moslems also being Islamophobic, see the rhyme and survey entitled  Islamophobia revisited - a thumbnail sketch of tolerance and inter-religious dialogues.

 

[ 12 ]  The notion of an "Islamic caliphate" is a phrase of an adjective and a noun. The adjective refers to Islam, no matter how various voices try to explain away this 21st century phenomenon. The noun refers to Islamic tradition as well, unlike such general vocabulary as dictatorship, tyranny and other related nouns.

          That an "ex-ISIS fighter" declares that "ISIS is not a group, it's an ideology" is informative and instructional. It highlights the problem for Europe in particular.

          One reads:  "...officials, including European and Iraqi intelligence officials and a French lawmaker who follows the jihadi networks, described camps in Syria, Iraq and possibly the former Soviet bloc where attackers are trained to target the West. Before being killed in a police raid, the ringleader of the Nov. 13 Paris attacks claimed he had entered Europe in a multinational group of 90 fighters, who scattered 'more or less everywhere'." In "IS trains 400 fighters to attack Europe in wave of bloodshed," by Lori Hinnant and Paisley Dodds, Associated Press, 23 March 2016.

          As problematic as this is for entrenched political leadership in Europe as in the US, the Paris attacks followed by these attacks in Brussels and illuminated by statements from what are being termed "radical Muslims" are demonstration that an Islamic ideology is at its murderous work. The adjective referring to Islam itself becomes unavoidable, especially for those Muslims trying to distance themselves from involvement in the attacks.

          "ISIS is not a group, it’s an ideology," declares a Muslim unequivocally. Among the world's many religious cultures it is the one which is proving itself by many "Islamic" words and deeds least able to Coexist .

          Thus the last stanza of this verse: addresses many nations, political parties, governments and cultures:  "Yes, hold the vigil also / Against grim terror at your door. / You'll need more than a candle / To survive the well-fought war."

 

[ 13 ]  The radical side of Islam is beginning to spark real Islamic voices, such as this "conservative" editor-in-chief of Breitbart London.

          He notes and then challenges:  " 'But come on, Raheem, not all immigrants, or Muslims, are criminals, or rapists…. you’re not!' Yeah – and look at me. Excoriated daily by Islamists on Twitter. Why? Because I’ve integrated and I love my country. Because I refuse to believe that an Islamic caliphate is the best thing for Britain, or anywhere, quite frankly. Where is my white (or brown) knight? Where are the voices of the moderate Muslim world defending me?"

          For the Western political voices, this is a key question. "Where are the voices of the moderate Muslim world defending me?

          Re-reading footnote number 3 gives an indication for how many Islamic voices are not of "the moderate Muslim world."

          As long as the political schisms within the Western world prefer to target and sometimes prosecute voices such as Raheem Kassam's for whatever the silly term "hate speech" means, there is no Western world nor Western values worth defending.

          As counterpoint to the Western voices which agonize over "hate speech," one might point to Sure 9:33 which reads: "He is the One who sent His messenger with the guidance and the religion of truth, and will make it dominate all religions, in spite of the idol worshipers."

          The sentiment in the 9th chapter of the Quran is one of domination over "all religions." Such domination is seen in the earlier verse (9:29_ which reads: "You shall fight back against those who do not believe in God, nor in the Last Day, nor do they prohibit what God and His messenger have prohibited, nor do they abide by the religion of truth among those who received the scripture, until they pay the due tax, willingly or unwillingly."

          Thus unless Muslims like Kassam reject the literal words noted here, the "religion of truth" must "fight back" and make others "pay the due tax, willingly or unwillingly." Such is submission, the antithesis of democratic freedom.

          This chapter, last in chronological order, ends with: "Whenever a sura was revealed, some of them would look at each other as if to say: 'Does anyone see you?' Then they left. Thus, God has diverted their hearts, for they are people who do not comprehend."

          The theology is then problematic, for either moderate Muslims asking where are more moderate voices are not representative of Islam and the radicals are, or the inverse is correct. But Islam states in writing that for some "God has diverted their hearts," and they "do not comprehend." Thus is Islam is serious religious, military and political trouble today, torn by schisms from within as well as causing societal rupture with other civilizations/cultures from without.

          After all, in contradistinction to the theological blather of Bush and Obama, a video from the Islamic State states:  " 'The crusaders aircrafts, including Belgium’s, continue to bomb Muslims in Iraq and the Levant in the night and day,' said the video. 'Every Muslim who is well aware of the history of Islam, knows that the holy war against infidels is an integral part of Islam, and those who read history would know'." In "Islamic State video calls for jihad after Brussels blasts," Reuters, 24 March 2016.

          The question which lingers then is this. Which civilization will survive the "holy war?" One seems most intent on more than surviving, but conquering.

          Such testimony is found surrounding the attack in Pakistan in March 2016:  "Pakistan’s Christian minority has long been targeted by Muslim extremists. The government seems powerless to stop the killings. A vicious Taliban splinter group claimed responsibility for this attack. 'It’s our message to the government that we will carry out such attacks again until Sharia Islamic law is imposed in the country,' a spokesman said." In "Islamic extremists don’t just hate the West," by Margaret Wente, Globe and Mail, 29 March 2016.

          "...attacks again until Sharia Islamic law is imposed in the country." As noted above from Muslim sources, Islam is supposed to dominate over "all religions." Such is not The religion of peace .